Next Article in Journal / Special Issue
An All-InkJet Printed Bending Actuator with Embedded Sensing Feature and an Electromagnetic Driving Mechanism
Previous Article in Journal
Magnetic Actuator with Multiple Vibration Components Arranged at Eccentric Positions for Use in Complex Piping
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Actuators 2016, 5(3), 20;

Novel Arrangements for High Performance and Durable Dielectric Elastomer Actuation

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Bath, Bath BA27AY, UK
Soft Matter Research Centre, Zhejiang University, 38 Zheda Road, Hangzhou 310027, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Salvatore Graziani
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)
Full-Text   |   PDF [2811 KB, uploaded 21 July 2016]   |  


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

Graphical abstract

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

Share & Cite This Article

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.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Actuators EISSN 2076-0825 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top