MUNICH—Electroactive polymer sensors, actuators, and generators and medical electronic devices are on a list of target uses for new ultrapure precision silicone elastomer films from Wacker Chemie A.G.
The Munich-based chemical group unveiled the Elastosil branded films at the Energy Harvesting & Storage USA exhibition from Nov. 19-20 in Santa Clara, Calif.
Manufactured in cleanrooms and available in thicknesses down to 20 microns, the film is claimed to have has excellent dielectric properties, making it suitable for functional membranes and technologies based on electroactive polymers.
EAPs can alter their shape when electrical voltage is applied and so replicate linear and natural forms of movement. Based on this principle, potential applications range from consumer electronics, electrical relays, valves and pumps to artificial limbs.
Wacker is also a member of a project sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) that could see silicone film used in future wave farms. The initiative is being led by a consortium of industrial and R&D partners led by Robert Bosch GmbH.
The film is manufactured via a patent-registered production process that Wacker said provides immaculate and extremely uniform continuous-feed films with a defined thickness.
It deviates from the specification by +/- 5 percent at most across the entire width and length of the film web, the firm said. This property—together with the material's typical silicone characteristics—permits technical applications that were previously very hard or even impossible to implement on an industrial scale.