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9 April 2013 Autonomous dielectric elastomer generator using electret
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Dielectric elastomers can work as a variable capacitor to convert mechanical energy such as human motion into electrical energy. Nevertheless, scavengers based on dielectric elastomers require a high voltage source to polarize them, which constitutes the major disadvantage of these transducers. We propose here to combine dielectric elastomer with an electret, providing a quasi-permanent potential, thus replacing the high voltage supply. Our new scavenger is fully autonomous, soft, lightweight and low cost. Our structure is made of a dielectric elastomer (Polypower from Danfoss) and an electret developing a potential of -1000V (Teflon from Dupont). The transducer is designed specifically to scavenge energy from human motion. Thus, it works on pure-shear mode with maximum strain of about 50% and it is textured in 3D form because electret is not deformable. The shape of the hybrid structure is critical to insure huge capacitance variation and thus higher scavenged energy. We present in this paper our process for the optimization of the 3D shape that leads us to the developpment and characterization of our first prototype. From an appropriate electromechanical analytical model, an energy density of about 1.48mJ.g-1 is expected on an optimal electrical load. Our new autonomous dielectric generator can produce about 0.55mJ.g-1 on a resistive load, and can further be improved by enhancing the performance of dielectric elastomer such as dielectric permittivity or by increasing the electret potential.
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T. Vu-Cong, C. Jean-Mistral, and A. Sylvestre "Autonomous dielectric elastomer generator using electret", Proc. SPIE 8687, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2013, 86870H (9 April 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2008793;

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