We report for the first time the fabrication of ionic polyurethane (IPU) based ionic polymer–carbon nanotube composite (IPCC) actuators. Graphene oxide (GO) was homogeneously dispersed in the IPU matrix to enhance the shape memory effect (SME) and action in terms of blocking force and displacement. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) were used as the electrodes of the IPCC through a coating method. The blocking force of 25% GO–IPU was 7.8 gf g−1, it was 5 times that of neat IPU. Moreover, the shape memory recovery speed of the GO–IPU based IPCC was improved, from 3.2° s−1 for neat IPU to 4.5° s−1 for the composite membrane of 25% GO–IPU. The results indicated that the novel actuator showed both shape memory performance and electromechanical behavior and GO enhanced the functional properties in terms of SME and actuation.
H. Lian, Wei Chang, Qian Liang