An instant multi-responsive porous polymer actuator driven by solvent molecule sorption

Fast actuation speed, large-shape deformation and robust responsiveness are critical to synthetic soft actuators. A simultaneous optimization of all these aspects without trade-offs remains unresolved. Here we describe porous polymer actuators that bend in response to acetone vapour (24 kPa, 20 C) at a speed of an order of magnitude faster than the state-ofthe-art, coupled with a large-scale locomotion. They are meanwhile multi-responsive towards a variety of organic vapours in both the dry and wet states, thus distinctive from the traditional gel actuation systems that become inactive when dried. The actuator is easy-tomake and survives even after hydrothermal processing (200 C, 24 h) and pressing-pressure (100 MPa) treatments. In addition, the beneficial responsiveness is transferable, being able to turn ‘inert’ objects into actuators through surface coating. This advanced actuator arises from the unique combination of porous morphology, gradient structure and the interaction between solvent molecules and actuator materials.

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