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Dielectric elastomers for active vibration control applications

: Herold, Sven; Kaal, William; Melz, Tobias


Bar-Cohen, Y. ; Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers -SPIE-, Bellingham/Wash.:
Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices, EAPAD 2011 : SPIE Smart Structures/NDE, 6.-10.3.2011, San Diego, California, USA
Bellingham, WA: SPIE, 2011 (Proceedings of SPIE 7976)
ISBN: 978-0-8194-8538-0
Paper 79761I
Conference "Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices" (EAPAD) <2011, San Diego/Calif.>
Fraunhofer LBF ()
dielectric elastomer; active vibration control application

Dielectric elastomers (DE) have proved to have high potential for smart actuator applications in many laboratory setups and also in first commercially available components. Because of their large deformation capability and the inherent fast response to external stimulation they proffer themselves to applications in the field of active vibration control, especially for lightweight structures. These structures typically tend to vibrate with large amplitudes even at low excitation forces. Here, DE actuators seem to be ideal components for setting up control loops to suppress unwanted vibrations. Due to the underlying physical effect DE actuators are generally non-linear elements with an approximately quadratic relationship between in- and output. Consequently, they automatically produce higher-order frequencies. This can cause harmful effects for vibration control on structures with high modal density. Therefore, a linearization technique is required to minimize parasitic effects. This paper shows and quantifies the nonlinearity of a commercial DE actuator and demonstrates the negative effects it can have in technical applications. For this purpose, two linearization methods are developed. Subsequently, the actuator is used to implement active vibration control for two different mechanical systems. In the first case a concentrated mass is driven with the controlled actuator resulting in a tunable oscillator. In the second case a more complex mechanical structure with multiple resonances is used. Different control approaches are applied likewise and their impact on the whole system is demonstrated. Thus, the potential of DE actuators for vibration control applications is highlighted.