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5 April 2007 Modelling a dielectric elastomer actuator based on the McKibben muscle
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Our work focuses on a contractile dielectric elastomer actuator (DEA) based on the McKibben pneumatic muscle concept. A coupled-field ABAQUS (Hibbit, Karlsson & Sorensen, Inc., USA) FEA model has been developed where the constraints of the orthotropic fibre weave and end caps of this actuator design are included. The implementation of the Maxwell pressure model that couples electrical inputs to mechanical loads using the ABAQUS user subroutine DLOAD is the focus of this paper. Our model was used to perform a study of actuator design parameters including the fibre weave angle, dielectric thickness, and the DEA's length. At a fibre angle of 45° relative to the longitudinal axis, no axial deformation was predicted by our model. A weave angle above this resulted in an axial expansion during actuation, whereas axial compression occurred if the fibre angle was less than 45°. For instance, at a fibre angle of 30° with respect to the longitudinal axis, this model predicted a compressive axial strain of 4.5% before mechanical failure for an actuator with an outer radius of 2mm, wall thickness of 0.5mm, and length of 20mm.
© (2007) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Thomas G. McKay, Emilio Calius, and Iain Anderson "Modelling a dielectric elastomer actuator based on the McKibben muscle", Proc. SPIE 6524, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2007, 65241W (5 April 2007);

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