1 April 2015 Integrating electrostatic adhesion to composite structures
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Abstract
Additional functionality within load bearing components holds potential for adding value to a structure, design or product. We consider the adaptation of an established technology, electrostatic adhesion or electroadhesion, for application in glass fibre reinforced polymer (GFRP) composite materials. Electroadhesion uses high potential difference (~2-3 kV) between co-planar electrodes to generate temporary holding forces to both electrically conductive and nonconductive contact surfaces. Using a combination of established fabrication techniques, electroadhesive elements are co-cured within a composite host structure during manufacture. This provides an almost symbiotic relationship between the electroadhesive and the composite structure, with the electroadhesive providing an additional functionality, whilst the epoxy matrix material of the composite acts as a dielectric for the high voltage electrodes of the device. Silicone rubber coated devices have been shown to offer high shear load (85kPa) capability for GFRP components held together using this technique. Through careful control of the connection interface, we consider the incorporation of these devices within complete composite structures for additional functionality. The ability to vary the internal connectivity of structural elements could allow for incremental changes in connectivity between discrete sub-structures, potentially introducing variable stiffness to the global structure.
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Callum J. C. Heath, Ian P. Bond, Kevin D. Potter, "Integrating electrostatic adhesion to composite structures", Proc. SPIE 9433, Industrial and Commercial Applications of Smart Structures Technologies 2015, 94330D (1 April 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2084073; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2084073
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