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8 March 2014 Optimized deformation behavior of a dielectric elastomer generator
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Dielectric elastomer generators (DEGs) produce electrical energy by converting mechanical into electrical energy. Efficient operation requires an optimal deformation of the DEG during the energy harvesting cycle. However, the deformation resulting from an external load has to be applied to the DEG. The deformation behavior of the DEG is dependent on the type of the mechanical interconnection between the elastic DEG and a stiff support area. The maximization of the capacitance of the DEG in the deformed state leads to the maximum absolute energy gain. Therefore several configurations of mechanical interconnections between a single DEG module as well as multiple stacked DEG modules and stiff supports are investigated in order to find the optimal mechanical interconnection. The investigation is done with numerical simulations using the FEM software ANSYS. A DEG module consists of 50 active dielectric layers with a single layer thickness of 50 μm. The elastomer material is silicone (PDMS) while the compliant electrodes are made of graphite powder. In the simulation the real material parameters of the PDMS and the graphite electrodes are included to compare simulation results to experimental investigations in the future. The numerical simulations of the several configurations are carried out as coupled electro-mechanical simulation for the first step in an energy harvesting cycle with constant external load strain. The simulation results are discussed and an optimal mechanical interconnection between DEG modules and stiff supports is derived.
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Florentine Foerster and Helmut F. Schlaak "Optimized deformation behavior of a dielectric elastomer generator", Proc. SPIE 9056, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2014, 905637 (8 March 2014);

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