Dielectric electro active polymer (DEAP) can be used in actuation, sensing and energy harvesting applications, but driving the DEAP based actuators and generators has three main challenges from a power electronics standpoint, i.e. high voltage (around 2.5 kV), nonlinearity, and capacitive behavior. In this paper, electronics divers for heating valves, loud speakers, incremental motors, and energy harvesting are reviewed, studied and developed in accordance with their corresponding specifications. Due to the simplicity and low power capacity (below 10W), the reversible Fly-back converters with both magnetic and piezoelectric transformers are employed for the heating valve and incremental motor application, where only ON/OFF regulation is adopted for energy saving; as for DEAP based energy harvesting, the noisolated Buck/Boost converter is used, due to the system high power capacity (above 100W), but the voltage balancing across the series-connected high voltage IGBTs is a critical issue and accordingly a novel gate driver circuitry is proposed and equipped; due to the requirements of the audio products, such as low distortion and noise, the multi-level Buck converter based Class-D amplifier, because of its high control linearity, is implemented for the loud speaker applications. A synthesis among those converter topologies and control techniques is given; therefore, for those DEAP based applications, their diversity and similarity of electronics drivers, as well as the key technologies employed are analyzed. Therefore a whole picture of how to choose the proper topologies can be revealed. Finally, the design guidelines in order to achieve high efficiency and reliability are discussed.
Dielectric electroactive polymer (DEAP) actuators are capacitive devices which provide mechanical motions when
charged electrically. The charging characteristics of a DEAP actuator depends on its size, voltage applied to its
electrodes, and its operating frequency. The main idea of this paper is to design and implement driving circuits for the
DEAP actuators for their use in various applications. This paper presents implementation of parallel input, parallel
output, high voltage (~2.5 kV) bi-directional DC-DC converters for driving the DEAP actuators. The topology is a bidirectional
flyback DC-DC converter incorporating commercially available high voltage MOSFETs (4 kV) and high
voltage diodes (5 kV). Although the average current of the aforementioned devices is limited to 300 mA and 150 mA,
respectively, connecting the outputs of multiple converters in parallel can provide a scalable design. This enables
operating the DEAP actuators in various static and dynamic applications e.g. positioning, vibration generation or
damping, and pumps. The proposed idea is experimentally verified by connecting three high voltage converters in
parallel to operate a single DEAP actuator. The experimental results with both film capacitive load and the DEAP
actuator are shown for a maximum charging voltage of 2 kV.
Due to the advantages of DEAP (Dielectric Electro Active Polymer) material, such as light weight, noise free operation,
high energy and power density and fast response speed, it can be applied in a variety of applications to replace the
conventional transducers or actuators. This paper introduces DEAP actuator to the heating valve system and conducts a
case study to discuss the feasible solution in designing DEAP actuator and its driver for heating valve application. First
of all, the heating valves under study are briefly introduced. Then the design and the development for DEAP actuator is
illustrated in detail, and followed by the detailed investigation of the HV driver for DEAP actuator. In order to verify the
implementation, the experimental measurements are carried out for DEAP actuator, its HV driver as well as the entire
heating valve system.