A document discusses polymer nanocomposite superparamagnetic actuators that were prepared by the addition of organically modified superparamagnetic nanoparticles to the polymer matrix. The nanocomposite films exhibited large deformations under a magnetostatic field with a low loading level of 0.1 wt% in a thermoplastic polyurethane elastomer (TPU) matrix. The maximum actuation deformation of the nanocomposite films increased exponentially with increasing nanoparticle concentration.

The cyclic deformation actuation of a high-loading magnetic nanocomposite film was examined in a low magnetic field, and it exhibited excellent reproducibility and controllability. Low-loading TPU nanocomposite films (0.1–2 wt%) were transparent to semitransparent in the visible wavelength range, owing to good dispersion of the magnetic nanoparticles. Magnetoactuation phenomena were also demonstrated in a high-modulus, high-temperature polyimide resin with less mechanical deformation.

This work was done by Michael A. Meador of Glenn Research Center and Mitra Yoonessi of the Ohio Aerospace Institute.

Inquiries concerning rights for the commercial use of this invention should be addressed to

NASA Glenn Research Center
Innovative Partnerships Office
Attn: Steven Fedor
Mail Stop 4–8
21000 Brookpark Road
Ohio 44135.