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Research Papers

Active Shape Control and Phase Coexistence of Dielectric Elastomer Membrane With Patterned Electrodes

[+] Author and Article Information
Tiefeng Li

e-mail: litiefeng@zju.edu.cn

Shaoxing Qu

e-mail: squ@zju.edu.cn
Department of Engineering Mechanics,
Zhejiang University,
Hangzhou 310027, China;
Soft Matter Research Center (SMRC),
Zhejiang University,
Hangzhou 310027, China

Honghui Yu

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
City College of New York, CUNY,
New York, NY 10031

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received August 12, 2013; final manuscript received September 4, 2013; accepted manuscript posted September 12, 2013; published online October 29, 2013. Editor: Yonggang Huang.

J. Appl. Mech 81(3), 031016 (Oct 29, 2013) (4 pages) Paper No: JAM-13-1338; doi: 10.1115/1.4025416 History: Received August 12, 2013; Revised September 04, 2013; Accepted September 12, 2013

Various applications of dielectric elastomers (DEs) have been realized in recent years due to their lightweight, low cost, large actuation and fast response. In this paper, experiments and simulations are performed on the active shape control of DE structures with various two-dimensional patterned electrodes by applying voltage. A DE membrane with a pattern of electrodes is mounted on an air chamber. It is first inflated by air pressure and then further deformed by applying voltage, which actively controls the membrane shape. Under higher voltage, an acrylic membrane with larger actuation can induce shape instability and demonstrate multiphase coexistence behavior. In the framework of electromechanical theory, finite element simulations are carried out and the results are in good agreement with those obtained by experiments.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

A DE membrane (3M-VHB 4905) with patterned electrodes (carbon grease) is mounted on a chamber and inflated into a balloon. Voltages are applied through the active zones to further actuate the membrane.

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Fig. 2

(a) The membrane module (1—the bottom mount, 2—the membrane, and 3—the acrylic glass clip). (b) Assembling of the membrane module. (c) Membrane module is mounted on the air chamber. Three channels from air chamber are connected to the 1—pump, 2—syringe, and 3—pressure gauge.

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Fig. 3

The reference, pressurized, and actuated states of the membranes with different patterns of electrode (a)–(d). The first row shows the reference states, the second row shows the pressurized states, and the third row shows the voltage actuated states.

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Fig. 4

(a) Schematics of two combined DE membranes structure. (b) Membranes in the state of preactuation. (c) Membranes in the actuated state by voltage.

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Fig. 5

The comparison between experimental and simulation results, (a) and (c) are the pressurized state without voltage, (b) and (d) are the actuated state by voltage

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Fig. 6

The side and top views of inflated membranes, (a) and (d) three active zones of the DE membrane inflate out when only pressure is applied, (b) and (e) when voltage is applied, three active zones further inflate out, (c) and (f) when voltage reaches a certain level, a bulged zone and two unbulged zones coexist

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Fig. 7

(a) To simplify the calculation, the inflated tricircle membrane can be analyzed by three connected inflation membranes with the same voltage and pressure. One bulged section and two unbulged sections. (b) The coexisting bulged (zone 2) and unbulged (zones 1 and 3) states in the experiment. (c) The corresponding coexisting states on the calculated pressure-volume curve.

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