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Electroactive Polymers (EAPs)

Electroactive polymers are materials that have been modified in such a way that they can convert electrical impulses into mechanical movement – a principle that enables the production of capacitive sensors, actuators and generators. Its NEXIPAL® and ELASTOSIL® Film products give WACKER an active presence on this market.

Intelligent sensors measure changes in capacitance and thus record expansive and compressive movements. NEXIPAL® sensors made from ELASTOSIL® Film are extremely thin and flexible, making them ideal for smart textiles and recording body movements in medical, athletic and lifestyle applications. In addition, NEXIPAL® sensors are also extremely well-suited to environments with a variety of temperature demands.

Flexible electrodes, NEXIPAL® Act and components made from ELASTOSIL® Film are used in the field of actuator technology, where they show considerable potential for saving energy and weight, relative to conventional technologies. Applications include valves, pumps, relays, artificial muscles, grippers and sound systems.

Other benefits include:

  • Proportional switching
  • Long stroke lengths
  • Actuator-sensor combinations possible
  • High actuation speed
  • Noiseless
  • Lightweight
  • Flexible and elastic
  • Energy saving

Here the mode of operation is opposite that of actuators. In this case, flexible electrodes and NEXIPAL® components made of ELASTOSIL® Film are used for converting mechanical work into electrical energy. This enables novel, environmentally friendly energy generation systems such as tidal power plants.

Tidal power plants using NEXIPAL® generators made of ELASTOSIL® Film are based on a bouy connected to a generator. The generator consists of NEXIPAL® laminates made of ELASTOSIL® Film and suitable electrode material.