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Proceedings Paper

PDMS/graphite stretchable electrodes for dielectric elastomer actuators
Author(s): Mark Kujawski; Justin Pearse; Elisabeth Smela
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Paper Abstract

Dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs) consist of an elastomer sandwiched between two electrodes, and they undergo a large in-plane expansion upon the application of an electric field. They therefore require compliant electrodes that can stretch tens of percent. The most commonly used electrode material is carbon grease, which smears easily and is difficult to pattern. This paper outlines the fabrication and performance of a novel polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) composite having a 15 wt% loading of exfoliated graphite (EG). This new material has a Young's modulus of only 0.9 MPa and a conductivity of 0.15 S/cm. Unlike other composite electrode materials, the Young's modulus of the PDMS/EG increases only slightly, by a factor of two, upon addition of the EG. Furthermore, the PDMS/EG composite is patternable and will not rub off. DEAs were fabricated with 20:1 PDMS as the elastomer using this new electrode material. The actuation strains were equal to those of 10:1 PDMS DEAs with carbon grease electrodes under the same electric field. Elastomer/EG composites may also find applications in areas such as flexible electronics, robotics, strain gauges, and sensors.

Paper Details

Date Published: 9 April 2010
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 7642, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2010, 76420R (9 April 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.847249
Show Author Affiliations
Mark Kujawski, Univ. of Maryland, College Park (United States)
Justin Pearse, Univ. of Maryland, College Park (United States)
Elisabeth Smela, Univ. of Maryland, College Park (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7642:
Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2010
Yoseph Bar-Cohen, Editor(s)

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