Effect of Prestrain on the Actuation Characteristics of Dielectric Elastomers

Dielectric elastomers (DEs) represent a class of electroactive polymers that deform due to electrostatic attraction between oppositely charged electrodes under a varying electric field. Over the last couple of decades, DEs have garnered considerable attention due to their much-coveted actuation properties. As far as the precise measurement systems are concerned, however, there is no standard instrument or interface to quantify various related parameters, e.g., actuation stress, strain, voltage and creeping etc. In this communication, we present an in-depth study of dielectric actuation behavior of dielectric rubbers by the state-of-the-art "Dresden Smart Rubber Analyzer" (DSRA), designed and developed in-house. The instrument allowed us to elucidate various factors that could influence the output efficiency of the DEs. Herein, several non-conventional DEs such as hydrogenated nitrile rubber, nitrile rubber with different acrylonitrile contents, were employed as an electro-active matrix. The effect of viscoelastic creeping on the prestrain, molecular architecture of the matrices, e.g., nitrile content of nitrile-butadiene rubber (NBR) etc., are also discussed in detail.


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