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Title: Enhancing dynamic actuation performance of dielectric elastomer actuators by tuning viscoelastic effects with polar crosslinking
Authors: Tan, Matthew Wei Ming
Thangavel, Gurunathan
Lee, Pooi See
Keywords: Engineering::Materials
Issue Date: 2019
Source: Tan, M. W. M., Thangavel, G. & Lee, P. S. (2019). Enhancing dynamic actuation performance of dielectric elastomer actuators by tuning viscoelastic effects with polar crosslinking. NPG Asia Materials, 11(1).
Project: NRF-CRP-13-2014-02 
Journal: NPG Asia Materials 
Abstract: Dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs) have shown great potential in the field of robotics, energy harvesting, or haptics for wearables. However, existing DEA materials typically require prestretching and exhibit time-dependent deformations due to their inherent viscoelastic properties. In this work, we address these issues by designing and synthesizing a polyurethane acrylate (PUA) DEA copolymerized with a polar crosslinker, polyethylene glycol diacrylate (PEGDA), to reduce viscoelastic effects through chemical crosslinking. We realized a buckling-mode actuator that displays out-of-plane deformations triggered by an electric field without the need for prestretching. Copolymerization with PEGDA showed improved dynamic response actuation performances compared to pristine PUA, wherein the former reached 90% of its maximum actuation in <1 s. In addition, precise and stable actuation was achieved, reducing viscoelastic drifts to a negligible amount. Despite the higher elastic modulus of the DEA incurred by the chemical crosslinks, the polar groups present in the PEGDA comonomer effectively increased the dielectric constant. As such, a higher area strain was achieved in comparison to that exhibited by low viscoelastic elastomers such as silicone. By eliminating the need for prestretching, rigid components can be avoided, thereby enabling greater prospects for the integration of fast response and stable DEAs into soft bodies.
ISSN: 1884-4049
DOI: 10.1038/s41427-019-0147-5
Schools: School of Materials Science and Engineering 
Rights: © 2019 The Author(s). This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:MSE Journal Articles

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