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Proceedings Paper

Molecular level materials design for improvements of actuation properties of dielectric elastomer actuators
Author(s): G. Kofod; H. Stoyanov; M. Kollosche; S. Risse; H. Ragusch; D. N. McCarthy; R. Waché; D. Rychkov; M. Dansachmüller
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Paper Abstract

Dielectric elastomer actuators are soft electro-mechanical transducers with possible uses in robotic, orthopaedic and automotive applications. The active material must be soft and have a high ability to store electrical energy. Hence, three properties of the elastic medium in a dielectric elastomer actuator affect the actuation properties directly: dielectric constant, electric breakdown strength, and mechanical stiffness. The dielectric constant of a given elastomer can be improved by mixing it with other components with a higher dielectric constant, which can be classified as insulating or conducting. In this paper, an overview of all approaches proposed so far for dielectric constant improvement in these soft materials will be provided. Insulating particles such as TiO2 nanoparticles can raise the dielectric constant, but may also lead to stiffening of the composite, such that the overall actuation is lowered. It is shown here how a chemical coating of the TiO2 nanoparticles leads to verifiable improvements. Conducting material can also lead to improvements, as has been shown in several cases. Simple percolation, relying on the random distribution of conducting nanoparticles, commonly leads to drastic lowering of the breakdown strength. On the other hand, conducting polymer can also be employed, as has been demonstrated. We show here how an approach based on a specific chemical reaction between the conducting polymer and the elastomer network molecules solves the problem of premature breakdown which is otherwise typically found.

Paper Details

Date Published: 29 March 2011
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7976, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2011, 79760J (29 March 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.880981
Show Author Affiliations
G. Kofod, Univ. of Potsdam (Germany)
H. Stoyanov, Univ. of Potsdam (Germany)
M. Kollosche, Univ. of Potsdam (Germany)
S. Risse, Univ. of Potsdam (Germany)
H. Ragusch, Univ. of Potsdam (Germany)
D. N. McCarthy, Univ. of Potsdam (Germany)
R. Waché, Univ. of Potsdam (Germany)
D. Rychkov, Univ. of Potsdam (Germany)
M. Dansachmüller, Univ. of Potsdam (Germany)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7976:
Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2011
Yoseph Bar-Cohen; Federico Carpi, Editor(s)

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