Actuation and dynamic mechanical characteristics of a core free flat dielectric electro-active polymer soft actuator
Various complex shapes of dielectric electro-active polymer (DEAP) actuator have been promoted for several types of applications. In this study, the actuation and mechanical dynamics characteristics of a new core free flat DEAP soft actuator were investigated. This actuator was developed by Danfoss PolyPower. DC voltage of up to 2000 V was supplied for identifying the actuation characteristics of the actuator and compare with the existing formula. The operational frequency of the actuator was determined by dynamic testing. Then, the soft actuator has been modelled as a uniform bar rigidly fixed at one end and attached to mass at another end. Results from the theoretical model were compared with the experimental results. It was found that the deformation of the current actuator was quadratic proportional to the voltage supplied. It was found that experimental results and theory were not in good agreement for low and high voltage with average percentage error are 104% and 20.7%, respectively. The resonance frequency of the actuator was near 14 Hz. Mass of load added, inhomogeneity and initial tension significantly affected the resonance frequency of the soft actuator. The experimental results were consistent with the theoretical model at zero load. However, due to inhomogeneity, the frequency response function’s plot underlines a poor prediction where the theoretical calculation was far from experimental results as values of load increasing with the average percentage error 15.7%. Hence, it shows the proposed analytical procedure not suitable to provide accurate natural frequency for the DEAP soft actuator.
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