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Proceedings Paper

An integrated dielectric elastomer generator model
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Paper Abstract

Dielectric Elastomer Generator(s) (DEG), are essentially variable capacitor power generators formed by hyper-elastic dielectric materials sandwiched between flexible electrodes. Electrical energy can be produced from a stretched, charged DEG by relaxing the mechanical deformation whilst maintaining the amount of charge on its electrodes. This increases the distance between opposite charges and packs likecharges more densely, increasing the amount of electrical energy. DEG show promise for harvesting energy from environmental sources such as wind and ocean waves. DEG can undergo large inhomogeneous deformations and electric fields during operation, meaning it can be difficult to experimentally determine optimal designs. Also, the circuit that is used for harnessing DEG energy influences the DEG output by controlling the amount of charge on the DEG. In this paper an integrated DEG model was developed where an ABAQUS finite element model is used to model the DEG and data from this model is input to a system level LT-Spice circuit simulation. As a case-study, the model was used as a design tool for analysing a diaphragm DEG connected to a self-priming circuit. That is, a circuit capable of overcoming electrical losses by using some of the DEG energy to boost the charge in the system. Our ABAQUS model was experimentally validated to predict the varying capacitance of a diaphragm DEG deformed inhomogeneously to within 6% error.

Paper Details

Date Published: 9 April 2010
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 7642, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2010, 764216 (9 April 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.847838
Show Author Affiliations
Thomas McKay, The Univ. of Auckland (New Zealand)
Benjamin O'Brien, The Univ. of Auckland (New Zealand)
Emilio Calius, Industrial Research Ltd. (New Zealand)
Iain Anderson, The Univ. of Auckland (New Zealand)


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

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