Progression and characterization of polydimethylsiloxane-carbon black nanocomposites for photothermal actuator applications

Shivashankar Hiremath, Shrishail M. H, S. M. Kulkarni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (SciVal)


The new development of polymer-based actuators triggers the progress of nanocomposites. Polymer materials are currently used in sensors, microfluidic devices, electrical and thermal actuators, and energy harvesting applications due to ease of availability, excellent tolerable properties, and customizable properties. The polymer-based nanocomposite can be driven by various stimuli, which is the actuator's emerging field. Thus, photothermal actuation is a thurst area of research transforming light energy into mechanical energy through the polymer material. The photo-responsive material can be prepared and tested for photo-actuation by incorporating the nanoparticles into the polymer. The present work focuses on developing polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) and carbon black (CB) nanocomposite. The objective here is to investigate the photothermal actuator's performance by illuminating the infrared (IR) light source and studying its most influential characteristics, such as absorbance, thermal conductivity, and the thermal expansion coefficient. The PDMS / CB nanocomposite absorbs the IR light and then increases temperature, which is finally transformed into a beam deflection. Responses are measured as a result of time deflection using the Laser displacement sensor. It is noted that the deflection of the nanocomposite beam is linearly increased during illumination with light while it is exponentially decreasing when the light is turned off. The proposed polymer nanocomposite is approximately deflected by 9 mm in the duration of 16 s duration. Furthermore, the experimental deflection of the photothermal actuator is very close to theoretical results. The nanocomposite PDMS / CB reveals that there is an increase in absorbance by increasing the filler content. The nanocomposite conductivity is 35.2 % higher than the base material. As well, the thermal expansion coefficient decreases with an increase in carbon black content. The photothermal actuator's development is an ongoing process in which the material parameter, actuator geometry, and many more are modified. As a result, the photothermal bending performed can provide a means for various light-driven applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112522
JournalSensors and Actuators, A: Physical
Publication statusPublished - 01-03-2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Instrumentation
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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