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Proceedings Paper

Dielectric and insulating properties of an acrylic DEA material at high near-DC electric fields
Author(s): L. Di Lillo; A. Schmidt; A. Bergamini; P. Ermanni; E. Mazza
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Paper Abstract

A number of adaptive structure applications call for the generation of intense electric fields (in excess of 70 MV/m). Such intense fields across the thickness of a thin polymer dielectric layer are typically used to exploit the direct electromechanical coupling in the form of a Maxwell stress: (see manuscript) Where V/d is the applied field, ε0 is the permittivity of vacuum and ε is the relative permittivity of the material. The field that can be applied to the dielectric is limited by the dielectric strength of the material. Below the limit set by the breakdown, the material is generally assumed to have a field independent dielectric constant and to be a perfect insulator, i.e. to have an infinite volume resistivity. While extensive investigations about the mechanical properties of the materials used for electronic Dielectric Elastomer Actuators (DEA) are available from literature, the results of the investigation of the insulating and dielectric properties of these materials, especially under conditions (electric field and frequency) similar to the ones encountered during operation are not available. In the present contribution, we present a method and a set-up for the measurement of the electric properties of thin polymer films, such as the ones used for the fabrication of electronic DEAs, under conditions close to operations. The method and setup where developed to investigate the properties of 'stiff' thin polymer films, such as Polyimide or Polyvinylidenefluoride, used for Electro-Bonded Laminates (EBLs). The properties of the well known VHB 4910 acrylic elastomer are presented to illustrate how the permittivity and the leakage current can be measured as a function of the electric field and the deformation state, using the proposed set-up. The material properties were measured on membranes under different fixed pre-stretch conditions (λ 1, λ2=3, 4, 5), in order to eliminate effects due to the change in sample geometry, using gold sputtered electrodes, 20nm thick. The values obtained for the permittivity of the material are in good agreement with the work of other authors. The dissipative properties revealed by the measurements performed at high fields, similar to the ones encountered in operation, indicate that this less investigated aspect of VHB needs to be taken in consideration for real world applications.

Paper Details

Date Published: 29 March 2011
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 7976, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2011, 79763B (29 March 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.894558
Show Author Affiliations
L. Di Lillo, ETH Zurich (Switzerland)
A. Schmidt, ETH Zurich (Switzerland)
EMPA (Switzerland)
A. Bergamini, EMPA (Switzerland)
P. Ermanni, ETH Zurich (Switzerland)
E. Mazza, ETH Zurich (Switzerland)
EMPA (Switzerland)

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

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