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Proceedings Paper

From land to water: bringing dielectric elastomer sensing to the underwater realm
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Paper Abstract

Since the late 1990’s dielectric elastomers (DEs) have been investigated for their use as sensors. To date, there have been some impressive developments: finger displacement controls for video games and integration with medical rehabilitation devices to aid patient recovery. It is clear DE sensing is well established for dry applications, the next frontier, however, is to adapt this technology for the other 71% of the Earth’s surface. With proven and perhaps improved water resistance, many new applications could be developed in areas such as diver communication and control of underwater robotics; even wearable devices on land must withstand sweat, washing, and the rain. This study investigated the influence of fresh and salt water on DE sensing. In particular, sensors have been manufactured with waterproof connections and submersed in fresh and salt water baths. Temperature and resting capacitance were recorded. Issues with the basic DE sensor have been identified and compensated for with modifications to the sensor. The electrostatic field, prior and post modification, has been modeled with ANSYS Maxwell. The aim of this investigation was to identify issues, perform modifications and propose a new sensor design suited to wet and underwater applications.

Paper Details

Date Published: 15 April 2016
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 9798, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2016, 97982B (15 April 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2218975
Show Author Affiliations
Christopher Walker, The Univ. of Auckland (New Zealand)
Iain Anderson, The Univ. of Auckland (New Zealand)
Stretchsense Ltd. (New Zealand)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9798:
Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2016
Yoseph Bar-Cohen; Frédéric Vidal, Editor(s)

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