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Large deformation and electromechanical instability of a dielectric elastomer tube actuator

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4 Author(s)
Zhu, Jian ; School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Kavli Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA ; Stoyanov, Hristiyan ; Kofod, Guggi ; Suo, Zhigang

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This paper theoretically analyzes a dielectric elastomer tube actuator (DETA). Subject to a voltage difference between the inner and outer surfaces, the actuator reduces in thickness and expands in length, so that the same voltage will induce an even higher electric field. This positive feedback may cause the actuator to thin down drastically, resulting in electrical breakdown. We obtain an analytical solution of the actuator undergoing finite deformation when the elastomer obeys the neo-Hookean model. The critical strain of actuation is calculated in terms of various parameters of design. We also discuss the effect of the strain-stiffening on electromechanical behavior of DETAs by using the model of freely joined links.

Published in:

Journal of Applied Physics  (Volume:108 ,  Issue: 7 )

Date of Publication:

Oct 2010

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