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15 April 2016 Fully printed 3 microns thick dielectric elastomer actuator
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In this work we present a new fabrication technique to print thin dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs), reducing the driving voltage below 300 V while keeping good actuation performance. With operation voltages in the kV-range, standard DEAs are limited in terms of potential applications. Using thinner membranes is one of the few existing methods to achieve lower operation voltages. Typical DEAs have membranes in the 20-100 μm range, values below which membrane fabrication becomes challenging and the membrane quality and uniformity degrade. Using pad printing we produced thin silicone elastomer membranes, on which we pad-printed compliant electrodes. We then fabricated DEAs by assembling two membranes back to back. We obtain an actuation strain of 7.5% at only 245 V on a 3 μm thick DEA. In order to investigate the stiffening impact of the electrodes we developed a simple DEA model that includes their mechanical properties. We also developed a strain-mapping algorithm based on optical correlation. The simulation results and the strain-mapping measurements confirm that the stiffening impact of the electrodes increases for thinner membranes. Electrodes are an important element that cannot be neglected in the design and optimization of ultra-thin DEAs.
© (2016) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
A. Poulin, S. Rosset, and H. Shea "Fully printed 3 microns thick dielectric elastomer actuator", Proc. SPIE 9798, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2016, 97980L (15 April 2016);

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