Ionic polymer-metal composite (IPMC) actuators with sectored (patterned) electrodes have been fabricated for realizing bending and twisting motion. Such IPMCs can be used to create next-generation artificial fish-like propulsors that can mimic the undulatory, flapping, and complex motions of real fish fins. Herein, a thorough experimental study is performed on sectored IPMCs to characterize their performance. Specifically, results are presented to show (1) the achievable twisting response; (2) blocking force and torque; (3) power consumption and effectiveness; and (4) propulsion characteristics. The results can be utilized to guide the design of practical marine systems driven by IPMC propulsors. The design of an example underwater robotic system is also described which employs the IPMC actuators, and the performance of the robotic system is reported.

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