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research-article

Dielectric elastomer fluid pump of high pressure and large volume via synergistic snap-through

[+] Author and Article Information
Yingxi Wang

Department of Mechanical Engineering, National University of Singapore, 9 Engineering Drive 1, Singapore 117575, Singapore
mpewyxi@nus.edu.sg

Zhe Li

Department of Biomedical Engineering, National University of Singapore, 7 Engineering drive 1, Singapore 117574, Singapore
bielzhe@nus.edu.sg

Lei Qin

Department of Mechanical Engineering, National University of Singapore, 9 Engineering Drive 1, Singapore 117575, Singapore
qinlei@u.nus.edu

George Caddy

Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford, Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PJ, UK
george.caddy@mansfield.ox.ac.uk

Choon Hwai Yap

Department of Biomedical Engineering, National University of Singapore, 7 Engineering drive 1, Singapore 117574, Singapore
bieyapc@nus.edu.sg

Jian Zhu

Department of Mechanical Engineering, National University of Singapore, 9 Engineering Drive 1, Singapore 117575, Singapore
mpezhuj@nus.edu.sg

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4040478 History: Received April 17, 2018; Revised June 01, 2018

Abstract

Harnessing reversible snap-through of a dielectric elastomer (DE), which is a mechanism for large deformation provided by an electro-mechanical instability, for large-volume pumping has proven to be feasible. However, the output volume of snap-through pumping is drastically reduced by adverse pressure gradient, and large-volume pumping under high adverse pressure gradient by a DE pump has not been realized. In this letter, we propose a new mechanism of DE fluid pumping that can address this shortcoming, by connecting DE pumps of different membrane stiffness serially in a pumping circuit, and by harnessing synergistic interactions between neighbouring pump units. We build a simple serial DE pump to verify the concept, which consists of two DE membranes. By adjusting the membrane stiffness appropriately, a synergistic effect is observed, where the snap-through of membrane 1 triggers the snap-through of membrane 2, ensuring that a large-volume (over 70 ml/cycle) can be achieved over a wide range of large adverse pressure gradients. In comparison, the conventional single DE pump's pumping volume rapidly decreased beyond a low adverse pressure gradient of 0.196 kPa. At the pressure difference of 0.98kPa, the serial DE pump's pumping volume is 4185.1% larger than that of the conventional DE pump.

Copyright (c) 2018 by ASME
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