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Advances in Materials Science and Engineering
Volume 2013, Article ID 318185, 8 pages
Research Article

Electrostrictive Energy Conversion of Polyurethane with Different Hard Segment Aggregations

1Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, Prince of Songkla University (PSU), Hat Yai 90112, Thailand
2Center of Excellence in Nanotechnology for Energy (CENE), PSU, Hat Yai 90112, Thailand

Received 2 March 2013; Accepted 26 August 2013

Academic Editor: Shi Xue Dou

Copyright © 2013 Pisan Sukwisute et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This work reported the electrostriction of polyurethane (PU) with different aggregations of hard segments (HS) controlled by dissimilar solvents: N,N-dimethylformamide (DMF) and a mixture of dimethyl sulfoxide and acetone denoted as DMSOA. By using atomic force microscopy and differential scanning calorimetry, the PU/DMSOA was observed to have larger HS domains and smoother surface when compared to those of the PU/DMF. The increase of HS domain formation led to the increase of transition temperature, enthalpy of transition, and dielectric constant (0.1 Hz). For the applied electric field below 4 MV/m, the PU/DMSOA had higher electric-field-induced strain and it was opposite otherwise. Dielectric constant and Young’s modulus for all the samples were measured. It was found that PU/DMF had less dielectric constant, leading to its lower electrostrictive coefficient at low frequency. At higher frequencies the electrostrictive coefficient was independent of the solvent type. Consequently, their figure of merit and power harvesting density were similar. However, the energy conversion was well exhibited for low frequency range and low electric field. The PU/DMSOA should, therefore, be promoted because of high vaporizing temperature of the DMSOA, good electrostriction for low frequency, and high induced strain for low applied electric field.