In this paper, we introduce a novel approach to model the dynamics of segmented Ionic Polymer Metallic Composite (IPMC) actuator. The IPMC actuator is activated using input voltage to its various segments. The proposed finite element approach combines the RC electrical model and a model that describes large deformations of mechanical beams. In the proposed modeling scheme, a local coordinate frame is attached to each beam element that undergoes rigid body motion in addition to elastic deformation. The elastic deformation of the element is modeled using the assumptions of the large deformation beam model. The proposed method has the advantage of accurately modeling large deflection of the IPMC beam actuator using relatively small number of elements. Experiments are conducted to validate the proposed method.

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