3 April 2012 Multi-layer beam with variable stiffness based on electroactive polymers
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The contribution describes a new kind of multi-layer beam with a variable stiffness based on electroactive polymers (EAP). These structures are supposed to be components of new smart, self-sensing and -controlling composite materials for lightweight constructions. Dielectric Elastomer foils from Danfoss PolyPower are used to control the beam's stiffness. The basic idea is to change the area moment of inertia of bending beams. These beams are built up as multi-layer stacks of thin metal or PMMA plates. Its internal structure can be changed by the use of the electroactive polymers for controlling the area moment of inertia. So it is possible to strongly change the stiffness of bending beams up to two orders of magnitude. Thereby, the magnitude of varying the stiffness can be scaled by the number of layers and the number and type of electroactive polymer elements used within the bending beam. The mechanisms for controlling the area moment of inertia are described in detail. Modeling of the mechanical structure including the EAP uses a pseudo rigid-body model, a strain energy model as well as a finite element analysis. The theoretical calculations are verified by experiments. The prototype described here consists of two structural layers. First results show the feasibility of the proposed structure for mechanical components with stiffness control.
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Markus Henke, Jörg Sorber, and Gerald Gerlach "Multi-layer beam with variable stiffness based on electroactive polymers", Proc. SPIE 8340, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2012, 83401P (3 April 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.915138; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.915138

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