Dielectric elastomers (DE) are thin polymer films belonging to the class of electroactive polymers (EAP), which are coated with compliant and conductive electrodes on each side. Due to the influence of an electrical field, dielectric elastomers perform a large amount of deformation. In this contribution a manufacturing process of automated fabricated stack-actuators based on dielectric electroactive polymers (DEAP) are presented. First of all the specific design of the considered stack-actuator is explained and afterwards the development, construction and realization of an automated manufacturing process is presented in detail. By applying this automated process, stack-actuators with reproducible and homogeneous properties can be manufactured. Finally, first DEAP actuator modules fabricated by the mentioned process are validated experimentally.
Dielectric elastomers are thin polymer films belonging to the class of electroactive polymers, which are coated with compliant and conductive electrodes on each side. Under the influence of an electrical field, dielectric elastomers perform a large amount of deformation. Depending on the mechanical setup, stack and roll actuators can be realized. In this contribution the mechanical properties of stack actuators are modeled by a holistic electromechanical approach of a single actuator film, by which the model of a stack actuator without constraints can be derived. Due to the mechanical connection between the stack actuator and the application, bulges occur at the free surfaces of the EAP material, which are calculated, experimentally validated and considered in the model of the stack actuator. Finally, the analytic actuator film model as well as the stack actuator model are validated by comparison to numerical FEM-models in ANSYS.