The Impact of Temperature, Pressure and Humidity on the Actuation of Dielectric Elastomer Actuators



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Dielectric elastomers (DE) are a variety of electroactive polymers that produce large mechanical strains when an electrical voltage is passed through it. This strain is what explains this material's importance and usage in many fields including prosthetics and deep-sea robotic exploration. One aspect that is necessary for future growth of the usage of this material is how dielectric elastomers react to the different environments they are put in. If the strain that is being outputted is different than what was calculated by the engineers, the product will not function as intended, if at all. This research project will test how the DE reaction changes depending on a change in temperature, pressure and humidity. Their use in prosthetics means that they will see different environments depending on where and when they are being used. For example, how will the dielectric elastomer react on a hot or humid summer day compared to a freezing or dry winter day. Pressure is also an important factor to research, because of their use in deep sea robotic exploration, where the engineers must account for extremely high pressures. With knowledge of how dielectric elastomers react to these high pressures, this extremely useful material can be used more often and with more precision.



Mechanical engineering