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Research Papers

Enhanced Compressive Sensing of Dielectric Elastomer Sensor Using a Novel Structure

[+] Author and Article Information
Junjie Liu, Guoyong Mao, Xiaoqiang Huang

Department of Engineering Mechanics,
Zhejiang University,
Hangzhou 310027, China
Soft Matter Research Center (SMRC),
Zhejiang University,
Hangzhou 310027, China

Zhanan Zou

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Colorado,
Boulder, CO 80309

Shaoxing Qu

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

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Applied Mechanics Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF APPLIED MECHANICS. Manuscript received May 6, 2015; final manuscript received June 19, 2015; published online July 10, 2015. Editor: Yonggang Huang.

J. Appl. Mech 82(10), 101004 (Jul 10, 2015) (6 pages) Paper No: JAM-15-1226; doi: 10.1115/1.4030889 History: Received May 06, 2015

Dielectric elastomer (DE) can undergo large deformation when subjected to external forces or voltage, leading to the variation of the capacitance. A novel DE sensor is proposed to detect compressive force. This sensor consists of a series of elements made of DE membrane with out-of-plane deformation. Each element experiences highly inhomogeneous large deformation to obtain high sensitivity. Both experimental and theoretical studies are conducted to optimize the performance of the sensor element, and the effects of the prestretches and the aspect ratios on the sensitivity are achieved. Results from the theoretical analysis based on continuum mechanics agree well with the experimental data. Furthermore, the reliability of the sensor element is illustrated by additional experimental investigation on the operation after 2000 cyclic loadings. This study provides guidance for the design and performance analysis of soft sensors.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

The schematic diagram of the components of the DE sensor. (a) The covering layer with cylindrical bar attached. (b) The membrane layer covered by electrodes on both sides. (c) The base layer with cylindrical hole.

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Fig. 2

The primary part of the sensor element: a silicone rubber membrane covered by carbon grease on both sides. A rigid disk is attached on its center to accommodate the weight. Two rigid rings sandwich the sensor element to keep its configuration. Tinfoil is used to connect the two electrodes to the capacitance meter.

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Fig. 3

The cross section of the sensor element with three states. (a) Reference state: the outer radius of the sensor element without prestretch is R0. An arbitrary particle of the sensor element is indicated by the distance R away from the center. (b) Prestretched state: the outer radius of the sensor element is prestretched to (b). (c) Current state: the out-of-plane axisymmetric configuration of the deformed sensor element subjected to external force F. Coordinates (r, z) are adopted.

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Fig. 4

The free-body diagrams of the sensor element describing the mechanical equilibrium of the configuration: (a) the deformed state and (b) half of the circular truncated cone. φ(R) is the tangential slope of the membrane with respect to the horizontal direction. s1 (R) and s2 (R) are the nominal stresses along the radial and circumferential directions of the membrane. θ denotes the angular position.

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Fig. 5

The experimental results of the variation of capacitance versus load for the sensor element with (a) different prestretches of the sensor element are adopted while aspect ratio b/a is kept constant as 4, and (b) different aspect ratios are adopted while prestretch is held as λpre = 1.2. C0 is the capacitance of the sensor element without load.

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Fig. 6

The comparison of the normalized capacitance versus load relationships of the sensor elements predicted by both the analytical model and experiment. Three prestretches and three aspect ratios are adopted.

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Fig. 7

The capacitance versus time relationship of the sensor element (aspect ratio b/a = 4 with b = 20 mm, and λpre = 1.2) after 0, 500, 1000, and 2000 cycles under displacement-controlled cyclic loading

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