For the processing of dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs) one promising class of materials are silicones. They are lowcost and easily accessible. At the same time these materials offer unique mechanical, chemical, low temperature, and optical properties. An active field of research is the optimisation of the silicones’ properties by modifying their framework on the structural level. The focus of this work is to improve the actuation performance of DEAs made up from polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) by incorporating organic dipoles directly into the polymer’s chains as network points. For this purpose, a diallyl functionalised nitroaniline derivative was utilised as crosslinker for appropriate PDMS starting materials. Silicone films with dipole concentrations varying from 0.5wt% to 1.0wt% were manufactured and the chemical, mechanical, electrical, and electromechanical properties of these novel materials were investigated in dependency of the dipole content.
Dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs) are smart materials that gained much in interest particularly in recent years. One
active field of research is the improvement of their properties by modification of their structural framework. The object
of this work is to improve the actuation properties of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)-based DEAs by covalent
incorporation of mono-vinyl-terminated low-molecular PDMS chains into the PDMS network. These low-molecular
units act as a kind of softener within the PDMS network. The loose chain ends interfere with the network formation and
lower the network’s density. PDMS films with up to 50wt% of low-molecular PDMS additives were manufactured and
the chemical, mechanical, electrical, and electromechanical properties of these novel materials were investigated.