Applied Physics A

, Volume 85, Issue 2, pp 141-143

First online:

Self-organized minimum-energy structures for dielectric elastomer actuators

  • G. KofodAffiliated withDepartment of Applied Condensed Matter Physics, University of Potsdam
  • , M. PaajanenAffiliated withVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
  • , S. BauerAffiliated withVTT Technical Research Centre of FinlandDepartment of Soft Matter Physics, Johannes Kepler University Email author 

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When a stretched elastomer is laminated to a flat plastic frame, a complex shape is formed, which is termed a minimum-energy structure. It is shown how self-organized structures can be applied in the development of actuators with complex, out-of-plane actuationmodes. This unusual concept is then demonstrated in the case of dielectric elastomer actuators. Among advantages of this approach are the simplicity in manufacturing, the potential complexity and sophistication of the manufactured structures, and the general benefits of the concept when applied to other electro-mechanically active materials.