Enhancing the Electro-Mechanical Response of Stacked Dielectric Actuators

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Dielectric polymer films subjected to an electric field reduce in thickness and expand in area. A pile up configuration of such films, also known as a stacked dielectric actuator, is capable of exhibiting contractive deformations while subjected to external tensile forces. This work analyzes the capabilities of the stacked actuator according to a new microscopically motivated approach which suggests that the macroscopic response is determined by four microscopic factors—the length of the polymer chains, the local behavior of the monomers, the intensity of the local dipole and the chain-density. With the aim of enhancing the actuators performance, a specific local behavior is assumed and the influence of the remaining three quantities is studied. It is shown that the actuation can be significantly improved with appropriate micro-structural changes. Interestingly, this work demonstrates that these micro-structural alterations depend on the envisaged application.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-113
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Elasticity
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2017


  • Electro-active polymers
  • Polymer micro-structure
  • Smart materials
  • Stacked actuators

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • General Materials Science


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