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Proceedings Paper

Dielectric elastomer actuators as self-sensing devices: a new method of superimposing actuating and sensing signals
Author(s): Maximilian Landgraf; Ulrich Zorell; Thomas Wetzel; Sebastian Reitelshöfer; In Seong Yoo; Jörg Franke
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Paper Abstract

Dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs) have a lot of advantages such as high energy efficiency, unrivaled power-toweight ratio and soft structure. Furthermore this new kind of actuator is capable of sensing its deformation and status without additional sensing devices. Therefore, DEAs are acknowledged as self-sensing actuators. In this contribution a new self-sensing technique for DEAs is presented, in which the capacitance of DEAs under deformation is measured using high voltage signals. For this purpose, simple signal processing algorithms and a novel method of superimposing actuating and sensing signals are implemented. By connecting the ground potential electrode of the DEA to a sinusoidal sensing signal, the DEA is used as a passive first order high-pass filter. The other electrode of the DEA is connected to the actuation voltage, which is superimposed with the sinusoidal signal. The amplitude of this signal is basically dependent on the capacitance of the actuator. Therefore, the change of the capacitance induced by contraction of the actuator alters the amplitude of the sinusoidal signal. The amplitude change can then be interpreted as capacity change and can be used to estimate the mechanical deformation of the DEA. In comparison to existing methods, this approach is promising for a miniaturized circuit and therefore for later use in mobile systems. In this paper, the new concept of superimposing actuating and sensing signals for self-sensing DEAs is validated with an experimental setup and several known capacities. The first results are presented and discussed in detail.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 April 2015
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 9430, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2015, 943014 (1 April 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2083572
Show Author Affiliations
Maximilian Landgraf, Friedrich-Alexander-Univ. Erlangen-Nürnberg (Germany)
Ulrich Zorell, Friedrich-Alexander-Univ. Erlangen-Nürnberg (Germany)
Thomas Wetzel, Friedrich-Alexander-Univ. Erlangen-Nürnberg (Germany)
Sebastian Reitelshöfer, Friedrich-Alexander-Univ. Erlangen-Nürnberg (Germany)
In Seong Yoo, Friedrich-Alexander-Univ. Erlangen-Nürnberg (Germany)
Jörg Franke, Friedrich-Alexander-Univ. Erlangen-Nürnberg (Germany)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9430:
Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2015
Yoseph Bar-Cohen, Editor(s)

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