Origami-inspired folding and unfolding of structures: Fundamental investigations of dielectric elastomer-based active materials

Saad Ahmed, Kevin McGough, Zoubeida Ounaies, Mary I. Frecker

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

We are investigating the use of dielectric elastomers (DE) to realize origami-inspired folding and unfolding of structures. DEs are compliant materials where the coupled electro-mechanical actuation takes advantage of the low modulus and high breakdown strength of the elastomer. Until recently, pre-straining of relatively thick DE materials was necessary in order to achieve the high electric fields required to trigger electrostatic actuation. However, the current availability of thinner DE materials (ex: VHB 9469PC-130μm, VHB 9473 PC -260 μm) has enabled their actuation at achievable electric fields without the need to pre-strain. In this work, an exhaustive study on the fundamentals of DE actuation is done by exploring thickness actuation mechanism and studying the change in dielectric permittivity; we also take advantage of the thin DEs to build actuators with very large bending angles. In particular, we relate the electrostatically-induced thickness contraction in a DE monomorph to the resulting bending once an inactive substrate is added. Both statically and dynamically induced electromechanical thickness strains are measured, and the experimental data is used as an input to a bender model to predict and optimize bending response; variables such as type of inactive material, number of DE layers, and type of electrodes are examined. We will also experimentally track the changes in the dielectric constant as a function of strain, electrode type, and applied electric field; the measured behavior will be used to model thickness and bending actuation. These fundamental studies are necessary to determine ability and limitation of DE materials in a bender configuration. Finally, bending of the DE actuator is transformed into folding by a novel geometric approach, where different shaped notches are introduced in the inactive substrate. The folding configuration is a step towards realizing active origami structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDevelopment and Characterization of Multifunctional Materials; Modeling, Simulation and Control of Adaptive Systems; Integrated System Design and Implementation
PublisherAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers
ISBN (Print)9780791856031
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013
EventASME 2013 Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems, SMASIS 2013 - Snowbird, UT, United States
Duration: Sep 16 2013Sep 18 2013

Publication series

NameASME 2013 Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems, SMASIS 2013
Volume1

Other

OtherASME 2013 Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems, SMASIS 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySnowbird, UT
Period9/16/139/18/13

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Civil and Structural Engineering

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