Research Papers

Analytical Solutions for Inextensible Fiber-Reinforced Dielectric Elastomer Torsional Actuators

[+] Author and Article Information
Liwen He

Piezoelectric Device Laboratory,
Department of Mechanics and
Engineering Science,
Ningbo University,
Ningbo, Zhejiang 315211, China
e-mail: physi_mechanism@163.com

Jia Lou, Jianke Du

Piezoelectric Device Laboratory,
Department of Mechanics and
Engineering Science,
Ningbo University,
Ningbo, Zhejiang 315211, China

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Applied Mechanics Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF APPLIED MECHANICS. Manuscript received January 10, 2017; final manuscript received March 6, 2017; published online March 23, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Kyung-Suk Kim.

J. Appl. Mech 84(5), 051003 (Mar 23, 2017) (11 pages) Paper No: JAM-17-1023; doi: 10.1115/1.4036193 History: Received January 10, 2017; Revised March 06, 2017

Two types of tubular dielectric elastomers (DE) torsional actuators are studied in this work, which are, respectively, reinforced by a family and two families of helical inextensible fibers. When subject to a radial electric field, torsional deformation will be induced in the DE actuators due to the constraint of inextensible fibers. By conducting finite deformation analysis with the principal axis approach and adopting appropriate constitutive equations, simple analytical solutions are obtained for the considered DE actuators. Furthermore, the effects of material parameters and the fiber angles as well as externally applied axial force and twist moment on the voltage-induced torsional behaviors of the two DE actuators are discussed in order to explore their maximum torsional actuation capability. The concept design presented here provides an effective approach for achieving large torsional deformation, and the developed model and revealed results will aid the design and fabrication of soft actuators and soft robots.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME
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Fig. 1

Schematic figure for the reference and current configurations of helical fiber-reinforced tubular DE actuators

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Fig. 2

Schematic figures for the kinematics of DE tubes with a family of helical fibers (a) and two families of helical fibers with opposite but different slanted angles (b). The deformation of both tubes can be decomposed into a sequential of fundamental deformations: the planar thin films obtained by developing the original cylindrical DE tubes undergo sequential uniform stretch U and rigid rotation R, and rolling up to form the final deformed tubes. The deformation of the unit-cell in each DE tube is also shown in the figure.

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Fig. 3

Deformation decomposition of a typical area element in a thin DE film reinforced by one family of inextensible fibers

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Fig. 4

Deformation decomposition of a typical area element in a thin DE film reinforced by two families of inextensible fibers with equal spacial periodicity

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Fig. 5

Voltage-induced torsion, expansion, and axial stretch in DE tubes reinforced by a family of inextensible helical fibers and the tensile stress due to the fiber constraint

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Fig. 6

Variation of the twist angle with the principal stretch and the fiber angle for voltage-driven DE tubes reinforced by a family of inextensible helical fibers

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Fig. 7

Effects of the axial force and twist moment on the voltage-induced deformation of DE tubes reinforced by a family of inextensible helical fibers (τ0=T/(2πμR2H), σ0=F/(2πμRH))

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Fig. 8

Voltage-induced torsion in DE tubes reinforced by two families of inextensible helical fibers and variation of the twist angle with the angle γ and the mean fiber angle α

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Fig. 9

Variation of possible maximum twist angle Rφ with the mean angle α and the difference angle δ



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