Research Papers

A Modulated Voltage Waveform for Enhancing the Travel Range of Dielectric Elastomer Actuators

[+] Author and Article Information
Nitesh Arora, Pramod Kumar

Department of Mechanical and
Industrial Engineering,
Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee,
Roorkee 247 667, India

M. M. Joglekar

Department of Mechanical and Industrial
Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee,
Roorkee 247 667, India
e-mail: joglekarmm@yahoo.com

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Applied Mechanics Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF APPLIED MECHANICS. Manuscript received May 26, 2018; final manuscript received July 28, 2018; published online August 24, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Shaoxing Qu.

J. Appl. Mech 85(11), 111009 (Aug 24, 2018) (8 pages) Paper No: JAM-18-1311; doi: 10.1115/1.4041039 History: Received May 26, 2018; Revised July 28, 2018

This paper presents a method to achieve high deformability levels in dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs) by applying a modulated voltage waveform. The method relies on supplying the electrostatic energy during the specific phase of the oscillation cycle, resulting in the enhanced travel range at a relatively low driving voltage. We consider a standard sandwich configuration of the DE actuator with neo-Hookean material model and outline an energy-based approach for delineating the underlying principles of the proposed method. A comparison of the deformability levels achieved using the quasi-static, Heaviside step, and the modulated input waveforms is presented. Significant reduction in instability voltages together with a considerable increase in the stable actuation limit is observed in the case of the modulated voltage input. The estimates of the stability thresholds are validated by integrating the equation of motion obtained using Hamilton's principle. The effect of energy dissipation is assessed by considering variations in the quality factor. Further, a qualitative comparison with experimental observations is presented highlighting the practical feasibility of the method. This investigation can find its potential use in the design and development of DEAs subjected to a time-dependent motion.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Evolution of the energy content of a DE actuator driven by a modulated voltage input (C = 1.00 × 109)

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Fig. 2

Schematic of a representative oscillation cycle from the thickness stretch response of the DE actuator

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Fig. 1

Schematic of a DEA driven by a modulated voltage signal

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Fig. 4

Time-history response and phase-portraits for (a), (b) stable motion and (c), (d) unstable motion of DEA with quality factor (Q) =7.7

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Fig. 5

The limit cycle amplitudes for a modulated voltage driven DEA for three different energy dissipation levels, obtained using the analytical and numerical methods. The instability point is marked by “X” on all analytically obtained curves (solid lines). The voltage-stretch characteristics for the quasi-static and step-voltage driven DEA are included for comparison.

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Fig. 6

The DEA specimen used for experimentation

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Fig. 7

The complete experimental setup

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Fig. 8

(a) Time-history response of DEA on application of a sweep signal and (b) Fourier transform of the time-history response

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Fig. 9

Time-history response of the lateral displacement of DEA driven by a modulated voltage with amplitudes (a) 2 KV, (b) 3 KV, and (c) 4 KV

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Fig. 10

Response of the maximum lateral displacement of the reflector at various voltages for three different loading conditions



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