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10 April 2008 Nonlinear dynamic characteristics of dielectric elastomer membranes
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The dynamic response of dielectric elastomer membranes subject to time-varying voltage inputs for various initial inflation states is investigated. These results provide new insight into the differences observed between quasi-static and dynamic actuation and presents a new challenge to modeling efforts. Dielectric elastomer membranes are a potentially enabling technology for soft robotics and biomedical devices such as implants and surgical tools. In this work, two key system parameters are varied: the chamber volume and the voltage signal offset. The chamber volume experiments reveal that increasing the size of the chamber onto which the membrane is clamped will increase the deformations as well as cause the membrane's resonance peaks to shift and change in number. For prestretched dielectric elastomer membranes at the smallest chamber volume, the maximum actuation displacement is 81 microns; while at the largest chamber volume, the maximum actuation displacement is 1431 microns. This corresponds to a 1767% increase in maximum pole displacement. In addition, actuating the membrane at the resonance frequencies provides hundreds of percent increase in strain compared to the quasi-static strain. Adding a voltage offset to the time-varying input signal causes the membrane to oscillate at two distinct frequencies rather than one and also presents a unique opportunity to increase the output displacement without electrically overloading the membrane. Experiments to capture the entire motion of the membrane reveal that classical membrane mode shapes are electrically generated although all points of the membrane do not pass through equilibrium at the same moments in time.
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Jason W. Fox and Nakhiah C. Goulbourne "Nonlinear dynamic characteristics of dielectric elastomer membranes", Proc. SPIE 6927, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2008, 69271P (10 April 2008);


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