Modelling dielectric elastomer actuators using higher order material characteristics

Runan Zhang, Pejman Iravani, Patrick Keogh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (SciVal)
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Dielectric elastomers, a special class of electroactive polymers, have viscoelastic properties that strongly affect their dynamic performance. This paper contributes a high-order linear solid model together with an optimised parameter identification method to aid the selection of the model parameters. The paper also demonstrates that accurate modelling of the viscoelastic characteristics for commonly used dielectric elastomer (DE) material requires additional spring-damper combinations within a standard linear solid model. The effect of key parameters on the system dynamics in the frequency domain is elaborated and used to guide the parameter identification of the models. The increased effectiveness of higher order models that incorporate multiple spring-damper combinations is demonstrated using three experiments; (a) mechanical loading of a stacked sample over 0.01-5 Hz with strain variations up to 50%; (b) mechanical loading of a single-layer sample over 1-100 Hz with strain variations up to 10%; and (c) electrical actuation of a single-layer sample over 1-100 Hz using electric fields up to 20 MV/m. Silicone and polyacrylate samples were tested to show the effect of viscoelastic properties in the frequency domain. The proposed method of parameter identification is optimised to capture the frequency response.
Original languageEnglish
Article number045025
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Physics Communications
Issue number4
Early online date4 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 18 Apr 2018


  • dielectric elastomer actuator
  • state space modelling
  • higher order modelling
  • viscoelasticity


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