Characterization of Polypyrrole/Gold Bilayers for Micro-valve Design
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Polypyrrole/gold bilayers are being developed as micro-actuators for several applications. The goal of this thesis was to use these bilayers in a micro-valve to control female urinary incontinence. Several substrate materials and designs were investigated, with noteworthy findings, including the development of a bulk micromachining method for titanium based on wet etching. Despite past research on polypyrrole/gold bilayers, the relationships between design parameters and performance were unknown. Work completed in this thesis resulted in data showing how the layer thicknesses and hinge length influence actuator bending and force. Bilayer performance was also examined as a function of temperature and in urine. Bilayer curvature increased at body temperature in a standard electrolyte, but in urine PPy failed at those temperatures.