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Open AccessArticle

Styrenic-Rubber Dielectric Elastomer Actuator with Inherent Stiffness Compensation

1
TeCIP Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, 56127 Pisa, Italy
2
Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Trento, 38123 Trento, Italy
3
Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Bologna, 40166 Bologna, Italy
4
Department of Mechanical, Energy, Management and Transportation Engineering, University of Genova, 16145 Genova, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Actuators 2020, 9(2), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/act9020044
Received: 28 April 2020 / Revised: 16 May 2020 / Accepted: 26 May 2020 / Published: 5 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dielectric Elastomer Actuators (DEAs))
Up to date, Dielectric Elastomer Actuators (DEA) have been mostly based on either silicone or acrylic elastomers, whereas the potential of DEAs based on inexpensive, wide-spread natural and synthetic rubbers has been scarcely investigated. In this paper, a DEA based on a styrene-based rubber is demonstrated for the first time. Using a Lozenge-Shaped DEA (LS-DEA) layout and following a design procedure previously proposed by the authors, we develop prototypes featuring nearly-zero mechanical stiffness, in spite of the large elastic modulus of styrenic rubber. Stiffness compensation is achieved by simply taking advantage of a biaxial pre-stretching of the rubber DE membrane, with no need for additional stiffness cancellation mechanical elements. In the paper, we present a characterization of the styrene rubber-based LS-DEA in different loading conditions (namely, isopotential, isometric, and isotonic), and we prove that actuation strokes of at least 18% the actuator side length can be achieved, thanks to the proposed stiffness-compensated design. View Full-Text
Keywords: dielectric elastomer; actuator; stiffness compensation; negative spring design dielectric elastomer; actuator; stiffness compensation; negative spring design
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MDPI and ACS Style

Moretti, G.; Sarina, L.; Agostini, L.; Vertechy, R.; Berselli, G.; Fontana, M. Styrenic-Rubber Dielectric Elastomer Actuator with Inherent Stiffness Compensation. Actuators 2020, 9, 44.

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