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28 March 2011 Acrylic interpenetrating polymer network dielectric elastomers for energy harvesting
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Dielectric elastomer energy harvesters are an emerging technology that promise high power density, low cost, scalability, and the capability of fitting niche markets that have yet to be exploited. To date, materials issues that limit their overall performance have hampered the full potential of these devices. In order to supplant existing technologies, even in niche markets, dielectric elastomer generators must increase their reliability and energy density. Previous work has indicated that stiffer elastomers should be capable of higher energy densities; the increased stiffness of the elastomer films should results in lower Maxwell pressure induced strains, and thus allow the elastomer to relax further, resulting in a larger swing in capacitance and larger energy gains. In this paper we examine the use of VHB-based acrylic interpenetrating polymer network dielectric elastomers with a trimethylolpropane trimethacrylate additive network for energy harvesting purposes. We test films with varying additive content and compare their performance with highly prestrained VHB acrylic elastomers. We show that by increasing additive content, Maxwell induced strains can be suppressed and larger energy gains can be achieved at higher bias fields. Moreover, the introduction of the additive network stabilizes the highly prestrained acrylic elastomers mechanically, thereby increasing their mechanical robustness. However, the interpenetrating polymer network films suffer from an increase in viscoelastic behavior that hinders their overall performance.
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Paul Brochu, Xiaofan Niu, and Qibing Pei "Acrylic interpenetrating polymer network dielectric elastomers for energy harvesting", Proc. SPIE 7976, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2011, 797606 (28 March 2011);

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