Silicon composite anode-based lithium ion battery actuators have strong potential for large actuation strain, complex shape change, and large compliance tunability. This allows for actuators with potential to do work with no energy expenditure beyond parasitic losses to internal resistance. This paper studies a segmented bimorph actuator comprised of a silicon-based composite anode double-side coated on copper foil.
The bimorph design allows for a nearly 360° range of motion in transverse bending and can double the capacity of the battery in comparison to a single side coated unimorph design. An Euler-Bernoulli model is developed to predict free deflection for a range of geometric configurations and states of charge of the bimorph. By modeling the charging of both active sides of the bimorph simultaneously, it is possible to achieve zero bending while still accommodating for the volumetric expansion of the silicon. The bimorph is able to achieve actuation in one given direction by charging each anode coating separately or maintaining a charge difference between the two coatings. The former method allows for the accommodated volumetric expansion of silicon while maintaining zero bending as in a conventional battery setup. The latter method allows for larger battery capacity and range of motion for a novel electrochemically-based actuation mechanism.