Dielectric Electro Active Polymer (DEAP)

Boon-Chai Ng (Engineering)

Evaluating the Mechanical Properties of Dielectric Electro Active Polymer (DEAP)

Electro-active polymers (or EAPs) are polymeric materials whose shapes are modified when a voltage is applied to them. Actuators and sensors based on these materials exhibit very large strains as compared to other known smart material technology. These materials have also been considered for energy harvesting as they will convert excess mechanical energy (wave, wind, vibration or motion) into useable electrical energy. But the field of EAPs is far from mature and many issues need to be addressed in order to improve its performance and long-term stability.  One of the issues is performance and stability of EAPs.  In this project, strips of DEAP materials (donated by Danfoss PolyPower A/S, Denmark) measuring 1 inch by 5 inches will be held between the jaws of the universal tensile tester and subjected to numerous cycles of stress relaxation. While the DEAP material is undergoing the cyclic stressing and relaxing (as in many actuators during operation), the resistivity of these materials will be measured and collect using the national instrument data acquisition system. This process will be performed in different strain rates. The resistivity and the stress cycles at different strain rates will be tabulated and analyzed.  These results will be compared with the resistivity of the virgin DEAP materials and a conclusion will be drawn on the usability of the DEAP material after a certain number of cycles. 

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