Searching for clues about Maxwell stress in the back-relaxation of ionic polymer-metal composites

Alain Boldini, Maxwell Rosen, Youngsu Cha, Maurizio Porfiri

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The phenomenon of back-relaxation in ionic polymer-metal composites (IPMCs) has attracted the interest of the scientific community for two decades, yet a conclusive explanation of why and when it occurs is presently lacking. Recent studies have suggested that the interplay between osmotic pressure and Maxwell stress could be the key mechanism underlying back-relaxation, but experimental proof is missing to substantiate this hypothesis. Here, we seek to bring forward new evidence from the technical literature in favor of this explanation by analyzing existing experiments on contactless actuation of ionomer strips in an electrolyte solution. We demonstrate that Maxwell stress dominates osmotic pressure in the contactless actuation of ionomers, thereby supporting the claim that Maxwell stress could help understand back-relaxation in IPMCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationElectroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) XXI
EditorsYoseph Bar-Cohen, Iain A. Anderson, Nancy L. Johnson
ISBN (Electronic)9781510625877
StatePublished - 2019
EventElectroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) XXI 2019 - Denver, United States
Duration: Mar 4 2019Mar 7 2019

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceElectroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) XXI 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Contactless actuation
  • Electric double layers
  • Electrochemistry
  • Electrolyte solution
  • Ionomer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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