Conductive or Conjugated Polymers as Artificial Muscles
This chapter offers a brief presentation on the impact of conductive or conjugated polymers to the general field of artificial and synthetic muscles. Certainly, the pioneering work and discoveries of the three Noble laureates in chemistry in 2000Alan J. Heeger, (Noble Prize Lecture, 2001), Alan MacDiarmid (Noble Prize Lecture, 2001), and Hideki Shirakawa (Noble Prize Lecture, 2001)—in the field of conductive polymers and synthetic metals paved the way to current knowledge and discoveries on conductive polymers, as can also evidenced in the early papers of Shirakawa et al. (1977), Chiang et al. (1977, 1978); and McGehee and coworkers in
Twenty Years of Synthetic Metals
in 1999. Following Shahinpoor (who, as early as 1991, presented biomimetic robotic fish
equipped with ionic polymers as undulating fin and artificial muscles), Otero and colleagues (1992a, 1992b) were the first to discuss the properties of polypyrrole as a conductive polymer actuator that mimicked natural muscles and was named an artificial muscle. They also discussed the electrochemomechanical phenomena involved in such electrochemical reactions.