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28 March 2011 Interconnection concepts for rigid micro-electrodes of a dielectric elastomer bending tube actuator
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A new concept for a tube-like dielectric elastomer actuator (DEA) utilizes rigid micro-electrodes to stabilize the tube structure in azimuthal direction. The individual electrodes are stacked in axial direction within the tube wall. An axial arrangement of a number of those electrode stacks forms a single actuator filament. Application of electrical voltage induces mechanical tension into those stacks by the effect of Maxwell-stress. The interaction of individual electrodes causes a change of the total length of selected actuator filaments. A circular arrangement of a number of actuator filaments allows bending of the tube in any direction. The desired tube actuator is focused on thin walled structures with an outer diameter less than 6 mm and an available wall thickness of less than 0.4 mm. To supply individual electrode stacks with different electric potentials an efficient electrical circuit has to be integrated within the DEA structure. The challenges for the design and fabrication of this circuit primarily lie on the micro-electrode dimensions, the minimization of electrical resistances and severe requirements regarding low mechanical interference. As assumption the actuator electrodes are already stacked and each individual electrode must be accessible at the edge. Considering different surface manufacturing technologies an especially shaped conductor geometry should be deposited onto the electrode edges and the surrounding dielectric. The design of the interconnections considers electrical and mechanical requirements as well as the definition of applicable material parameters. The present work details different concepts for interconnecting rigid electrodes of a thin walled tube-like DEA and discusses related manufacturing technologies.
© (2011) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
F. Wehrheim and H. F. Schlaak "Interconnection concepts for rigid micro-electrodes of a dielectric elastomer bending tube actuator", Proc. SPIE 7976, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2011, 79762A (28 March 2011);

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