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Proceedings Paper

Aluminum nanoparticle/acrylate copolymer nanocomposites for dielectric elastomers with high dielectric constants
Author(s): Wei Hu; Suki Naifang Zhang; Xiaofan Niu; Chao Liu; Qibing Pei
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Paper Abstract

Dielectric elastomers are useful for large-strain actuation and energy harvesting. Their application has been limited by their low dielectric constants and consequently high driving voltage. Various fillers with high dielectric constants have been incorporated into different elastomer systems to improve the actuation strain, force output and energy density of the compliant actuators and generators. However, agglomeration may happen in these nanocomposites, resulting in a decrease of dielectric strength, an increase of leakage current, and in many instances the degree of enhancement of the dielectric constant. In this work, we investigated aluminum nanoparticles as nanofillers for acrylate copolymers. This metallic nanoparticle was chosen because the availability of free electrons could potentially provide an infinite value of dielectric constant as opposed to dielectric materials including ferroelectric nanocrystals. Moreover, aluminum nanoparticles have a self-passivated oxide shell effectively preventing the formation of conductive path. The surfaces of the aluminum nanoparticles were functionalized with methacrylate groups to assist the uniform dispersion in organic solutions and additionally enable copolymerization with acrylate copolymer matrix during bulk polymerization, and thus to suppress large range drifting of the nanoparticles. The resulting Al nanoparticle-acrylate copolymer nanocomposites were found to exhibit higher dielectric constant and increased stiffness. The leakage current under high electric fields were significantly lower than nanocomposites synthesized without proper nanoparticle surface modification. The dielectric strengths of the composites were comparable with the pristine polymers. In dielectric actuation evaluation, the actuation force output and energy specific work density were enhanced in the nanocomposites compared to the pristine copolymer.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 March 2014
PDF: 17 pages
Proc. SPIE 9056, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2014, 90561O (8 March 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2045049
Show Author Affiliations
Wei Hu, Univ. of California, Los Angeles (United States)
Suki Naifang Zhang, Univ. of California, Los Angeles (United States)
Xiaofan Niu, Univ. of California, Los Angeles (United States)
Chao Liu, Univ. of California, Los Angeles (United States)
Qibing Pei, Univ. of California, Los Angeles (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9056:
Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2014
Yoseph Bar-Cohen, Editor(s)

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