Special Issue "Dielectric Elastomer Actuators (DEAs)"

A special issue of Actuators (ISSN 2076-0825).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Jun Shintake
Website
Guest Editor
Graduate School of Informatics and Engineering, Department of Mechanical and Intelligent Systems Engineering, The University of Electro-Communications, Tokyo, Japan
Interests: dielectric elastomer actuators; soft robotics; soft actuators; soft sensors

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to invite you to submit your paper(s) to our Special Issue on “Dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs)” in Actuators (ISSN 2076-0825). Both original research and review articles are welcome. Deadline: 30 September 2020.

Along with recent advances in materials sciences, stretchable electronics, and mechatronics, the research and development of dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs) is rapidly increasing. The reasons lie in their multifunctionality, scalability, and performance characteristics resembling skeletal muscles, making them a promising solution for the creation of next-generation machines and devices driven by soft intelligent materials. DEAs are a type of electroactive polymers made of compliant elastomers and are able to generate large actuation strokes, exhibit a fast response, and have theoretically high electro-mechanical efficiency compared to other soft actuator technologies. Applications of DEAs cover a wide range of fields such as soft robotics, optics, and medical and biological engineering, to name a few, which are expected to expand substantially in the years and decades ahead. To highlight the current status and perspectives, this Special Issue invites contributions from all aspects of DEAs, including but not limited to:

  • Novel robots, actuator configurations, and other mechatronic devices;
  • Switches, generators, and other transducers;
  • Theory and modeling;
  • Design, fabrication, and control;
  • Applications in research, industry, and education.

Prof. Dr. Jun Shintake
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Actuators is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs)
  • Electroactive polymers (EAPs)
  • Smart materials
  • Artificial muscles
  • Soft robotics
  • Soft transducers
  • Haptics
  • Electroadhesion

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Styrenic-Rubber Dielectric Elastomer Actuator with Inherent Stiffness Compensation
Actuators 2020, 9(2), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/act9020044 - 05 Jun 2020
Abstract
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dielectric Elastomer Actuators (DEAs))
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Open AccessArticle
Linear-Quadratic Regulator for Control of Multi-Wall Carbon Nanotube/Polydimethylsiloxane Based Conical Dielectric Elastomer Actuators
Actuators 2020, 9(1), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/act9010018 - 13 Mar 2020
Abstract
Conventional rigid actuators, such as DC servo motors, face challenges in utilizing them in artificial muscles and soft robotics. Dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs) overcome all these limitations, as they exhibit complex and fast motions, quietness, lightness, and softness. Recently, there has been much [...] Read more.
Conventional rigid actuators, such as DC servo motors, face challenges in utilizing them in artificial muscles and soft robotics. Dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs) overcome all these limitations, as they exhibit complex and fast motions, quietness, lightness, and softness. Recently, there has been much focus on studies of the DEAs material’s non-linearity, the non-linear electromechanical coupling, and viscoelastic behavior of VHB and silicone-based conical DEAs having compliant electrodes that are based on graphite powder and carbon grease. However, the mitigation of overshoot that arises from fast response conical DEAs made with solid electrodes has not received much research focus. In this paper, we fabricated a conical configuration of multi-walled carbon nanotube/polydimethylsiloxane (MWCNT/PDMS) based DEAs with a rise time of 10 ms, and 50% peak overshoot. We developed a full feedback state-based linear-quadratic regulator (LQR) having Luenberger observer to mitigate the DEAs overshoot in both the voltage ON and OFF instances. The cone DEA’s model was identified and a stable and well-fitting transfer function with a fit of 94% was obtained. Optimal parameters Q = 70,000, R = 0.1, and Q = 7000, R = 0.01 resulted in the DEA response having a rise time value of 20 ms with zero overshoot, in both simulations and experiments. The LQR approach can be useful for the control of fast response DEAs and this would expand the potential use of the DEAs as artificial muscles in soft robotics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dielectric Elastomer Actuators (DEAs))
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