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Proceedings Paper

Artificial muscles on heat
Author(s): Thomas G. McKay; Dong Ki Shin; Steven Percy; Chris Knight; Scott McGarry; Iain A. Anderson
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Paper Abstract

Many devices and processes produce low grade waste heat. Some of these include combustion engines, electrical circuits, biological processes and industrial processes. To harvest this heat energy thermoelectric devices, using the Seebeck effect, are commonly used. However, these devices have limitations in efficiency, and usable voltage. This paper investigates the viability of a Stirling engine coupled to an artificial muscle energy harvester to efficiently convert heat energy into electrical energy. The results present the testing of the prototype generator which produced 200 μW when operating at 75°C. Pathways for improved performance are discussed which include optimising the electronic control of the artificial muscle, adjusting the mechanical properties of the artificial muscle to work optimally with the remainder of the system, good sealing, and tuning the resonance of the displacer to minimise the power required to drive it.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 March 2014
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 9056, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2014, 905625 (8 March 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2045362
Show Author Affiliations
Thomas G. McKay, The Univ. of Auckland (New Zealand)
Dong Ki Shin, The Univ. of Auckland (New Zealand)
Steven Percy, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (Australia)
Chris Knight, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (Australia)
Scott McGarry, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (Australia)
Iain A. Anderson, The Univ. of Auckland (New Zealand)


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

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