Numerical modelling of dielectric elastomers

Dielectric elastomer

The main feature of this material is the change in shape by applying an electric field. The achievable deformations are large; the occurring strains are in the range of 10-20%. It is an appropriate material for actuator devices, typical applications are in robotics as artificial muscle. The electromechanical coupling is determined by the balance of linear and angular momentum.

The adjacent figure shows a bending actuator consisting of two layers. One layer is loaded by an electric voltage. Due to the extension and the eccentricity of the layer the cantilever starts to bend. The deformed cantilever is shown for different loadings. The color illustrates the applied voltage.