The mechanism underlying the large electric-field-induced strains in terpolymers of vinylidene fluoride, trifluoroethylene, and chlorotrifluoroethylene was investigated. The electrostrictive strain increased by an order of magnitude with increasing temperature, up to the Curie transition, and was essentially invariant to temperature thereafter. Infrared absorption spectra, obtained as a function of both temperature and electric field strength, revealed no change in the crystal phase structure for electric fields sufficient to induce longitudinal strains of ∼1%. Thus, the electrostriction observed herein is not due to crystal phase conversion. The Maxwell strain was also negligible under all conditions, because of the terpolymer’s high mechanical modulus (10 to 100 MPa). The mechanical properties exhibit an anomalous change in behavior near the Curie transition, whose origin is unclear.

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