Theory of dielectric elastomers capable of giant deformation of actuation
The deformation of a dielectric induced by voltage is limited by electrical breakdown if the dielectric is stiff, and by electromechanical instability if the dielectric is compliant. The interplay of the two modes of instability is analyzed for a dielectric elastomer, which is compliant at a small stretch, but stiffens steeply. The theory is illustrated with recent experiments of interpenetrating networks, and with a model of swollen elastomers. The theory predicts that, for an elastomer with a stress-stretch curve of a desirable form, the voltage can induce giant deformation. © 2010 The American Physical Society.
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