A physics-based model of the electrical impedance of ionic polymer metal composites

Youngsu Cha, Matteo Aureli, Maurizio Porfiri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, we analyze the chemoelectrical behavior of ionic polymer metal composites (IPMCs) in the small voltage range with a novel hypothesis on the charge dynamics in proximity of the electrodes. In particular, we homogenize the microscopic properties of the interfacial region through a so-called composite layer which extends between the polymer membrane and the metal electrode. This layer accounts for the dissimilar properties of its constituents by describing the charge distribution via two species of charge carriers, that is, electrons and mobile counterions. We model the charge dynamics in the IPMC by adapting the multiphysics formulation based on the Poisson-Nernst-Planck (PNP) framework, which is enriched through an additional term to capture the electron transport in the composite layer. Under the hypothesis of small voltage input, we use the linearized PNP model to derive an equivalent IPMC circuit model with lumped elements. The equivalent model comprises a resistor connected in series with the parallel of a capacitor and a Warburg impedance element. These elements idealize the phenomena of charge build up in the double layer region and the faradaic impedance related to mass transfer, respectively. We validate the equivalent model through measurements on in-house fabricated samples addressing both IPMC step response and impedance, while assessing the influence of repeated plating cycles on the electrical properties of IPMCs. Experimental results are compared with theoretical findings to identify the equivalent circuit parameters. Findings from this study are compared with alternative impedance models proposed in the literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number124901
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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