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Open AccessArticle

Novel Arrangements for High Performance and Durable Dielectric Elastomer Actuation

1
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Bath, Bath BA27AY, UK
2
Soft Matter Research Centre, Zhejiang University, 38 Zheda Road, Hangzhou 310027, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Salvatore Graziani
Actuators 2016, 5(3), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/act5030020
Received: 29 April 2016 / Revised: 6 July 2016 / Accepted: 14 July 2016 / Published: 21 July 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Actuators)
This paper advances the design of Rod Pre-strained Dielectric Elastomer Actuators (RP-DEAs) in their capability to generate comparatively large static actuation forces with increased lifetime via optimized electrode arrangements. RP-DEAs utilize thin stiff rods to constrain the expansion of the elastomer and maintain the in-plane pre-strain in the rod longitudinal direction. The aim is to study both the force output and the durability of the RP-DEA. Initial design of the RP-DEA had poor durability, however, it generated significantly larger force compared with the conventional DEA due to the effects of pre-strain and rod constraints. The durability study identifies the in-electro-active-region (in-AR) lead contact and the non-uniform deformation of the structure as causes of pre-mature failure of the RP-DEA. An optimized AR configuration is proposed to avoid actuating undesired areas in the structure. The results show that with the optimized AR, the RP-DEA can be effectively stabilized and survive operation at least four times longer than with a conventional electrode arrangement. Finally, a Finite Element simulation was also performed to demonstrate that such AR design and optimization can be guided by analyzing the DEA structure in the state of pre-activation. View Full-Text
Keywords: DEA; topological optimization; pre-strain; fiber enhancement; rod pre-strain; RP-DEA DEA; topological optimization; pre-strain; fiber enhancement; rod pre-strain; RP-DEA
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MDPI and ACS Style

Zhang, R.; Huang, X.; Li, T.; Iravani, P.; Keogh, P. Novel Arrangements for High Performance and Durable Dielectric Elastomer Actuation. Actuators 2016, 5, 20. https://doi.org/10.3390/act5030020

AMA Style

Zhang R, Huang X, Li T, Iravani P, Keogh P. Novel Arrangements for High Performance and Durable Dielectric Elastomer Actuation. Actuators. 2016; 5(3):20. https://doi.org/10.3390/act5030020

Chicago/Turabian Style

Zhang, Runan; Huang, Xiaoqiang; Li, Tiefeng; Iravani, Pejman; Keogh, Patrick. 2016. "Novel Arrangements for High Performance and Durable Dielectric Elastomer Actuation" Actuators 5, no. 3: 20. https://doi.org/10.3390/act5030020

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