Control-focused, nonlinear and time-varying modelling of dielectric elastomer actuators with frequency response analysis

William R. Jacobs, Emma D. Wilson, Tareq Assaf, Jonathan Rossiter, Tony J. Dodd, John Porrill, Sean R. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (SciVal)


Current models of dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs) are mostly constrained to first principal descriptions that are not well suited to the application of control design due to their computational complexity. In this work we describe an integrated framework for the identification of control focused, data driven and time-varying DEA models that allow advanced analysis of nonlinear system dynamics in the frequency-domain. Experimentally generated input-output data (voltage-displacement) was used to identify control-focused, nonlinear and time-varying dynamic models of a set of film-type DEAs. The model description used was the nonlinear autoregressive with exogenous input structure. Frequency response analysis of the DEA dynamics was performed using generalized frequency response functions, providing insight and a comparison into the time-varying dynamics across a set of DEA actuators. The results demonstrated that models identified within the presented framework provide a compact and accurate description of the system dynamics. The frequency response analysis revealed variation in the time-varying dynamic behaviour of DEAs fabricated to the same specifications. These results suggest that the modelling and analysis framework presented here is a potentially useful tool for future work in guiding DEA actuator design and fabrication for application domains such as soft robotics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number055002
Number of pages11
JournalSmart Materials and Structures
Issue number5
Early online date31 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015


  • control
  • electro active polymer
  • frequency response
  • nonlinear modelling
  • timevarying

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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