Dielectric elastomer actuators (DEA) are one of the best candidate materials for next generation of robotic actuators, soft sensors and artificial muscles due to their fast response, mechanical robustness and compliance. However, high voltage requirements of DEAs have impeded their potential to become widely used in such applications. In this study, we propose a method for fabrication of silicon based multilayer DEA fibers composed of microlevel dielectric layers to improve the actuation ratios of DEAs at lower voltages. A multi-walled carbon nanotube - polydimethylsiloxane (MWCNT/PDMS) composite was used to fabricate mechanically compliant, conductive parallel plates and electrode connections for the DEA actuators. Active surface area and layer thickness were varied to study the effects of these parameters on actuation ratio as a function of applied voltage. Different structures were fabricated to assess the flexibility of the fabrication method for specific user-end applications.
Mert Corbaci, Wayne Walter, and Kathleen Lamkin-Kennard, "Microfabrication of stacked dielectric elastomer actuator fibers," Proc. SPIE 9798, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2016, 979823 (Presented at SPIE Smart Structures and Materials + Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring: March 24, 2016; Published: 15 April 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2219229.
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