By embedding the ferrous particles in a polymer matrix a solid elastomer is formed. Unlike in MRF, the particles in an EAP or MAP have very restricted movement. The application of a magnetic field results in a hardening of the MAE. Researchers at MRU have developed super soft MAE which demonstrate an increases in Young's modulus of over 1,000,000% for a magnetic flux density of around a half Tesla. The hardness of ultra-low MAEs in the quiescent state can be as low as a few hundred Pascal.
In addition to an increase in hardness under the influence of a magnetic field, the electrical capacitance is also increased. Research on the electrical properties of MAE is of major interest and is being pursued further at MRU.
Hard magnetic particles may also be embedded in the polymer matrix. This helps in the controllability of MAE actuators by shifting the operating point.
Fabrication of MAEs is not simple when isotropic polymers with irregular geometries are necessary. MRU have developed and patented such a process. Surface structures may also be designed, both before and after polymerisation.
MAPs enjoy a wide range of potential applications, particularly in bio-medical areas.