"Effective" electromechanical coupling coefficient for IPMC by equivalent bimorph beam model is studied. The collective effect of the membrane thickness and operating voltage is demonstrated by using a design of experiment of three and four levels of the two factors, respectively. Experiments and finite element analyses using MSC.NASTRAN are used to evaluate the tip displacement and the coupling coefficient for which approximations as function of the thickness and voltage are constructed. Initial curvature of the strips before electrical excitation is also shown to be a factor in "effective" coupling coefficient. A correction factor approach is proposed to include the effect of the preimposed curvature.© (2008) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.