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5 April 2007 Extending applications of dielectric elastomer artificial muscle
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Dielectric elastomers have demonstrated high energy density and high strains as well as high electromechanical efficiency and fast speeds of response. These properties, combined with their projected low cost make them attractive for a variety of actuator applications including linear actuators, diaphragm pumps, rotary motors, and haptic displays. Dielectric elastomers have also been shown to offer high energy density, high efficiency, and large strains when operated as generators. Dielectric elastomers have reached a stage of development where standardized products can be applied to new applications. In some cases, dielectric elastomer devices are improvements over existing devices. In other cases, however, dielectric elastomers can enable new types of devices that cannot be made with existing technologies, such as new types of loudspeakers and power generating devices. A new dipole loudspeaker system was developed using a commercially available push-pull diaphragm configuration. This same transducer configuration was used to develop a new power generating system. This generator system enables a power generation of 0.06 to 0.12 W by manually displacing the device by 5 to 6 mm once a second. By introducing a voltage step-down conversion circuit, the device was able to power wireless communications, allowing the control of devices separated by a distance of a few meters. These two devices are examples of the new applications that are enabled as the dielectric elastomer technology commercially emerges. Future improvements to dielectric elastomers could enable new capabilities in clean electrical power generation from ocean waves, for example.
© (2007) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Seiki Chiba, Mikio Waki, Roy Kornbluh, and Ron Pelrine "Extending applications of dielectric elastomer artificial muscle", Proc. SPIE 6524, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2007, 652424 (5 April 2007);

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