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Article

Performance Optimization of a Conical Dielectric Elastomer Actuator

by 1,2 and 1,3,*
1
Bristol Robotics Laboratory, Bristol BS16 1QY, UK
2
Department of Aerospace Engineering, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TR, UK
3
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TR, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Actuators 2018, 7(2), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/act7020032
Received: 24 May 2018 / Revised: 14 June 2018 / Accepted: 15 June 2018 / Published: 18 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electroactive Polymer Actuators for Soft Robotics)
Dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs) are known as ‘artificial muscles’ due to their large actuation strain, high energy density and self-sensing capability. The conical configuration has been widely adopted in DEA applications such as bio-inspired locomotion and micropumps for its good compactness, ease for fabrication and large actuation stroke. However, the conical protrusion of the DEA membrane is characterized by inhomogeneous stresses, which complicate their design. In this work, we present an analytical model-based optimization for conical DEAs with the three biasing elements: (I) linear compression spring; (II) biasing mass; and (III) antagonistic double-cone DEA. The optimization is to find the maximum stroke and work output of a conical DEA by tuning its geometry (inner disk to outer frame radius ratio a/b) and pre-stretch ratio. The results show that (a) for all three cases, stroke and work output are maximum for a pre-stretch ratio of 1 × 1 for the Parker silicone elastomer, which suggests the stretch caused by out-of-plane deformation is sufficient for this specific elastomer. (b) Stroke maximization is obtained for a lower a/b ratio while a larger a/b ratio is required to maximize work output, but the optimal a/b ratio is less than 0.3 in all three cases. (c) The double-cone configuration has the largest stroke while single cone with a biasing mass has the highest work output. View Full-Text
Keywords: dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs); conical configuration optimization; hyperelastic model stroke output; work output dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs); conical configuration optimization; hyperelastic model stroke output; work output
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cao, C.; Conn, A.T. Performance Optimization of a Conical Dielectric Elastomer Actuator. Actuators 2018, 7, 32. https://doi.org/10.3390/act7020032

AMA Style

Cao C, Conn AT. Performance Optimization of a Conical Dielectric Elastomer Actuator. Actuators. 2018; 7(2):32. https://doi.org/10.3390/act7020032

Chicago/Turabian Style

Cao, Chongjing, and Andrew T. Conn. 2018. "Performance Optimization of a Conical Dielectric Elastomer Actuator" Actuators 7, no. 2: 32. https://doi.org/10.3390/act7020032

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