Interpenetrating polymer networks (IPNs) based on nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) as first component and poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) as second component were synthesized and used as a solid polymer electrolyte film in the design of a mechanically robust conducting IPN actuator. IPN mechanical properties and morphologies were mainly investigated by dynamic mechanical analysis and transmission electron microscopy. For 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium bis-(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)-imide (EMITFSI) swollen IPNs, conductivity values are close to 1 x 10(-3) S cm(-1) at 25 degrees C. Conducting IPN actuators have been synthesized by chemical polymerization of 3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene (EDOT) within the PEO/NBR IPN. A pseudo-trilayer configuration has been obtained with PEO/NBR IPN sandwiched between two interpenetrated PEDOT electrodes. The robust conducting IPN actuators showed a free strain of 2.4% and a blocking force of 30 mN for a low applied potential of +/-2 V.
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