Dielectric Elastomers as Electromechanical Transducers

Dielectric Elastomers as Electromechanical Transducers

Fundamentals, Materials, Devices, Models and Applications of an Emerging Electroactive Polymer Technology

1st Edition - January 22, 2008

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  • Editors: Federico Carpi, Danilo De Rossi, Roy Kornbluh, Ronald Pelrine, Peter Sommer-Larsen
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780080474885
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080557724

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Dielectric Elastomers as Electromechanical Transducers provides a comprehensive and updated insight into dielectric elastomers; one of the most promising classes of polymer-based smart materials and technologies. This technology can be used in a very broad range of applications, from robotics and automation to the biomedical field. The need for improved transducer performance has resulted in considerable efforts towards the development of devices relying on materials with intrinsic transduction properties. These materials, often termed as “smart” or “intelligent”, include improved piezoelectrics and magnetostrictive or shape-memory materials. Emerging electromechanical transduction technologies, based on so-called ElectroActive Polymers (EAP), have gained considerable attention. EAP offer the potential for performance exceeding other smart materials, while retaining the cost and versatility inherent to polymer materials. Within the EAP family, “dielectric elastomers”, are of particular interest as they show good overall performance, simplicity of structure and robustness. Dielectric elastomer transducers are rapidly emerging as high-performance “pseudo-muscular” actuators, useful for different kinds of tasks. Further, in addition to actuation, dielectric elastomers have also been shown to offer unique possibilities for improved generator and sensing devices. Dielectric elastomer transduction is enabling an enormous range of new applications that were precluded to any other EAP or smart-material technology until recently. This book provides a comprehensive and updated insight into dielectric elastomer transduction, covering all its fundamental aspects. The book deals with transduction principles, basic materials properties, design of efficient device architectures, material and device modelling, along with applications.

Key Features

  • Concise and comprehensive treatment for practitioners and academics
  • Guides the reader through the latest developments in electroactive-polymer-based technology
  • Designed for ease of use with sections on fundamentals, materials, devices, models and applications


Scientists, students, technicians, public institutions, research centers and private companies working with polymer actuators

Table of Contents

  • Preface
    Introduction - History of dielectric elastomer actuators

    Section I - Fundamentals
    1. Electromechanical transduction effects in dielectric elastomers: actuation, sensing, stiffness modulation and electric energy generation (R. Pelrine and R. Kornbluh)
    2. Dielectric elastomers as high-performance electroactive polymers (J. Madden)

    Section II - Materials
    3. Physical and chemical properties of dielectric elastomers (A. Ladegaard Larsen and P. Sommer-Larsen)
    4. High-performance acrylic and silicone elastomers (R. Kornbluh and R. Pelrine)
    5. Interpenetrating polymer networks as high performance dielectric elastomers (S. Mok Ha, W. Yuan, Q. Pei, R. Pelrine and S. Stanford)
    6. Enhancing the dielectric permittivity of elastomers (F. Carpi, G. Gallone, F. Galantini and D. De Rossi)
    7. Compliant electrodes: solutions, materials and technologies (G. Kofod and P. Sommer-Larsen)

    Section III - Devices
    8. Fundamental configurations for dielectric elastomer actuators (R. Kornbluh)
    9. Multiple-degrees-of-freedom roll actuators (M.A. Rosenthal and Q. Pei)
    10. Actuators and sensors from dielectric elastomer with smart compliant electrodes (P. Sommer-Larsen and M. Benslimane)
    11. Multilayer stack contractile actuators (H.F. Schlaak, P. Lotz and M. Matysek)
    12. Contractile monolithic linear actuators (F. Carpi and D. De Rossi)
    13. Buckling actuators with integrated displacement sensor (F. Carpi, G. Fantoni, G. Frediani and D. De Rossi)
    14. Variable stiffness mode: devices and applications (R. Pelrine)
    15. Generator mode: devices and applications (R. Pelrine and H. Prahlad)

    Section IV - Models
    16. Finite-elasticity models of actuation (G. Kofod and P. Sommer-Larsen)
    17. Modeling of prestrained circular actuators (M. Wissler and E. Mazza)
    18. Modeling dielectric elastomer membranes (N. Goulborne, E. Mockensturm and M. Frecker)

    Section V - Applications
    V.1 Biomedical, haptic and micro-scale applications
    19. A new frontier for orthotics and prosthetics – application of dielectric elastomer actuators to bionics (A. Mulgaonkar, R. Kornbluh and H. Herr)
    20. Portable force feedback device based on miniature rolled dielectric elastomer actuators (R. Zhang, P. Lochmatter, G. Kovacs, A. Kunz and F. Conti)
    21. Programmable surface deformation: thickness-mode dielectric elastomers and their applications (H. Prahlad)
    22. Application to very small devices: microactuators, micro-optics, microfluidics and more (R. Kornbluh, R. Pelrine and J. Eckerle)
    23. A new Braille display system design using a polymer based soft actuator tactile display (J. Choon Koo, H. Ryeol Choi, Kw. Jung, Jae-do Nam, Y.K. Lee and S. Lee)

    V.2 Robotic and biorobotic applications
    24. Biomimetic robots (S. Stanford)
    25. Micro-annelid-like robot actuated by artificial muscles based on dielectric elastomers (H. Ryeol Choi, K. Jung, J. Choon Koo, Jae-do Nam and Y.K. Lee)
    26. Binary actuation (J-S. Plante and S. Dubowsky)
    27. Robotic arm (G. Kovacs, P. Lochmatter, M. Wissler, C. Iseli and L. Kessler)
    28. Stiffness control of biomimetic systems through recruitment of bundle elastomeric actuators (F. Lorussi, C. Caudai, S. Galatolo and D. De Rossi)

    V.3 Commercial applications
    29. Commercial actuators and issues (C. Duncheon)
    30. Dielectric elastomer loudspeakers (R.P. Heydt, R. Kornbluh, J. Eckerle and R. Pelrine)

Product details

  • No. of pages: 344
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Elsevier Science 2008
  • Published: January 22, 2008
  • Imprint: Elsevier Science
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780080474885
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080557724

About the Editors

Federico Carpi

Federico Carpi received the Laurea degree in Electronic Engineering in 2001 and the Ph.D degree in Bioengineering in 2005 from the University of Pisa, Italy. He currently has a post-doctoral position at the Interdepartmental Research Centre “E. Piaggio” of the University of Pisa. His main research activities are focused on polymer materials and devices for biomedical engineering and robotics.

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Pisa, Interdepartmental Research Centre ''E. Piaggio'', Italy

Danilo De Rossi

Danilo Emilio De Rossi received the Laurea degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Genoa in 1976. He was researcher of the Institute of Clinical Physiology of C.N.R., Italy until 1981. Since 1982 he has been working in the School of Engineering of the University of Pisa, where he is presently Full Professor of Bioengineering. His scientific activities are related to the physics of organic and polymeric materials, and to the design of sensors and actuators for bioengineering and robotics.

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Pisa, Interdepartmental Research Centre ''E. Piaggio'', Italy

Roy Kornbluh

Roy Kornbluh is a Senior Research Engineer at SRI International, where he has worked for the past 20 years. Recognizing the need for a new generation of robotic actuators, Mr. Kornbluh helped conceive dielectric elastomer artificial muscle. He has authored more than 40 papers on dielectric elastomers and is active in the electroactive polymer research community.

Affiliations and Expertise

Stanford Research Institute, Menlo Park, CA, USA

Ronald Pelrine

Ron Pelrine is a principal inventor of dielectric elastomer transducers and has been active in the field since 1992. Along with other researchers at SRI International, Dr. Pelrine laid the foundations of dielectric elastomer transduction, and was the first to discover both silicone and acrylic as dielectric elastomer materials.

Affiliations and Expertise

Stanford Research Institute, Menlo Park, CA, USA

Peter Sommer-Larsen

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