Large voltage-actuated deformation of dielectric elastomers 

Far greater voltage-actuated  deformation  is achievable for a dielectric elastomer coated with carbon grease under equilbiaxial dead load than under rigid constraint  usually  employed in the literature. We demonstrate areal strains of 488% in experiments (Fig. 3). The dead load suppresses electric breakdown, enabling the elastomer to survive the snap-through electromechanical instability. We also develop a nonlinear model for viscoelastic dielectric elastomers, which is shown to be consistent with the experimental observations.

 Under various dead loads, the experimental and predicted voltage-stretch curves are shown as the voltage is increased at rates of 5 V/s. At a low dead load, the elastomer fails by instability.

Citation info
Jiangshui Huang, Tiefeng Li, Choon Chiang Foo, Jian Zhu, David R. Clarke, Zhigang Suo. Giant, voltage-actuated deformation of a dielectric elastomer under dead load. Applied Physics Letters, 100, 041911 (2012).