Long term stability of Electroactive Polymers

Electromagnetic design of PFC boost converters using GaN devices Long term stability of Electroactive Polymers (EAP) under high electrical and mechanical stress for artificial muscle and energy harvesting application

Project description

The project aims to understand the electromechanical failure that often occurs when high electrical and mechanical stresses are applied to an Electroactive Polymer (EAP)-based device.

Electroactive Polymers have recently drawn considerable attention, because of their potential use in wave energy converters, muscle-like actuators and as a material for application in robotics and biomimetic. Its interest is primarily attributed to the electrostictive effect that manifests in the stretching and compression of the dielectric soft polymer when a voltage is applied to the electrodes of a capacitor-like device. The degree of deformation, hence available actuation/conversion, is proportional to the square of the applied electric field, therefore is crucial to study the effect of high voltages on EAPs. Limitations to this mechanism have to be found in: electromechanical breakdown, whose potential threshold is close to the desired operating voltage of the device:  compliancy of the electrodes, which must expand with the soft dielectric in order to not crack de device.
Main objectives of the project are: 

  • - Understanding the breakdown mechanism beyond the EAP failure
  • - Improving the overall lifetime of an EAP device
  • - Integrate compliant electrodes with soft dielectric
  • - Design a methodology for failure test for large scale production

Alessandro Iannarelli

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