6 April 2009 A dielectric elastomer actuator thin membrane rotary motor
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We describe a low profile and lightweight membrane rotary motor based on the dielectric elastomer actuator (DEA). In this motor phased actuation of electroded sectors of the motor membrane imparts orbital motion to a central gear that meshes with the rotor. Two motors were fabricated: a three phase and four phase with three electroded sectors (120°/sector) and four sectors (90°/sector) respectively. Square segments of 3M VHB4905 tape were stretched equibiaxially to 16 times their original area and each was attached to a rigid circular frame. Electroded sectors were actuated with square wave voltages up to 2.5kV. Torque/power characteristics were measured. Contactless orbiter displacements, measured with the rotor removed, were compared with simulation data calculated using a finite element model. A measured specific power of approximately 8mW/g (based on the DEA membrane weight), on one motor compares well with another motor technology. When the mass of the frame was included a peak specific power of 0.022mW/g was calculated. We expect that motor performance can be substantially improved by using a multilayer DEA configuration, enabling the delivery of direct drive high torques at low speeds for a range of applications. The motor is inherently scalable, flexible, flat, silent in operation, amenable to deposition-based manufacturing approaches, and uses relatively inexpensive materials.
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Iain A. Anderson, Emilio P. Calius, Todd Gisby, Thom Hale, Thomas McKay, Benjamin O'Brien, Scott Walbran, "A dielectric elastomer actuator thin membrane rotary motor", Proc. SPIE 7287, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2009, 72871H (6 April 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.815823; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.815823

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