1 April 2015 Modeling of a corrugated dielectric elastomer actuator for artificial muscle applications
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Abstract
Dielectric elastomer actuators have many advantages, including light weight, simplicity, high energy density, and silent operation. These features make them suitable to replace conventional actuators and transducers, especially in artificial muscle applications where large contractile strains are necessary for lifelike motions. This paper will introduce the concept of a corrugated dielectric elastomer actuator (DEA), which consists of dielectric elastomer (DE) laminated to a thin elastic layer to induce bending motion at each of the corrugations, resulting in large axial deformation. The location of the DE and elastic layers can be configured to provide tensile or compressive axial strain. Such corrugated DE actuators are also highly scalable: linking multiple actuators in series results in greater deformation, whereas multiple actuators in parallel results in larger force output. Analytical closed-form solutions based on linear elasticity were derived for the displacement and force output of curved unimorph and corrugated DEA, both consisting of an arbitrary number of lamina. A total strain energy analysis and Castigiliano’s theorem were used to predict the nonlinear force-displacement behavior of the corrugated actuator. Curved unimorph and corrugated DEA were fabricated using VHB F9469PC as the DE material. Displacement of the actuators observed during testing agreed well with the modeling results. Large contractile strain (25.5%) was achieved by the corrugated DEA. Future work includes investigating higher performance DE materials such as plasticized PVDF terpolymers, processed by thin film deposition methods.
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Kevin Kadooka, Minoru Taya, Keishi Naito, Makoto Saito, "Modeling of a corrugated dielectric elastomer actuator for artificial muscle applications", Proc. SPIE 9430, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2015, 943020 (1 April 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2084733; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2084733
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