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6 April 2009 Long lifetime dielectric elastomer actuators under continuous high strain actuation
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Dielectric elastomer actuators have attracted a great deal of attention thanks to their remarkably large actuation strain and energy density. Several different design concepts and configurations have been fabricated for many proposed applications. However, high rates of failure and short lifetime caused by dielectric breakdown have prevented their use in commercial applications. Employing single-walled carbon nanotube electrodes of tens of nanometer thickness and a coating of dielectric oil on the electrode surface, the actuators can be operated continuously at larger than 150% area strain for longer than 1500 minutes without terminal failure. As a comparison, under the same test conditions, actuators with carbon grease electrodes can be driven for less than 60 minutes before terminal failure. It has been demonstrated that the carbon nanotube electrodes endow the actuators with the ability to self-heal following localized dielectric failure, which should make them more amenable to practical applications.
© (2009) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Wei Yuan, Paul Brochu, Han Zhang, Antony Jan, and Qibing Pei "Long lifetime dielectric elastomer actuators under continuous high strain actuation", Proc. SPIE 7287, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2009, 72870O (6 April 2009);

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