, Volume 107, Issue 3, pp 583-588
Date: 29 Feb 2012

Dielectric elastomer and ferroelectret films combined in a single device: how do they reinforce each other?

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Abstract

Dielectric elastomers (DE) are soft polymer materials exhibiting large deformations under electrostatic stress. When a prestretched elastomer is stuck to a flat plastic frame, a complex structure that can be used as an actuator (DEA) is formed due to self-organization and energy minimization. Here, such a DEA was equipped with a ferroelectret film. Ferroelectrets are internally charged polymer foams or void-containing polymer-film systems combining large piezoelectricity with mechanical flexibility and elastic compliance. In their dielectric spectra, ferroelectrets show piezoelectric resonances that can be used to analyze their electromechanical properties. The antiresonance frequencies (f p ) of ferroelectret films not only are directly related to their geometric parameters, but also are sensitive to the boundary conditions during measurement. In this paper, a fluoroethylenepropylene (FEP) ferroelectret film with tubular void channels was glued to a plastic frame prior to the formation of self-organized minimum-energy DEA structure. The dielectric resonance spectrum (DRS) of the ferroelectret film was measured in-situ during the actuation of the DEA under applied voltage. It is found that the antiresonance frequency is a monotropic function of the bending angle of the actuator. Therefore, the actuation of DEAs can be used to modulate the f p of ferroelectrets, while the f p can also be taken for in-situ diagnosis and for precise control of the actuation of the DEA. Combination of DEAs and ferroelectrets brings a number of possibilities for application.