Dielectric elastomer actuators with elastomeric electrodes.

For many applications of dielectric elastomer actuators, it is desirable to use stretchable and solid-state electrodes for structural stability and easier handling. Their use offers other advantages as well, such as compatibility with more complex polymer systems, or the potential for frameless actuator designs. In experiments led by our collaborators from Princeton University, we achieve voltage-actuated areal strains over 70% for dielectric elastomer membranes attached with thin layers of conducting silicone elastomer. We model such elastomers and compare numerical results with test data. 

Schematics of dielectric elastomer actuators with solid electrodes in different states.

Comparison of experimental and theoretical results with DE membranes of thickness and prestretch as indicated. Red curves correspond to the theoretical electric breakdown limit.

Citation info. 
Michael Bozlar, Christian Punckt, Sibel Korkut, Jian Zhu, Choon Chiang Foo, Zhigang Suo, Ilhan A. Aksay. Dielectric elastomer actuators with elastomeric electrodes. Applied Physics Letters 101, 091907 (2012). [http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4748114]