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DECMAS - Dielectric Elastomer Membranes for Cooperative Micro- Actuator/Sensor Concepts

The objective of this proposal is the development of a novel highly flexible, large-stroke multi-segment micro-actuator system based on layers of dielectric elastomer (DE) arrays and multi-stable shape memory polymers (SMP). Novel modeling and design tools accounting for the strong electromechanical coupling between cooperating segments as well as for inherent self-sensing capabilities of individual actuator segments will be developed. These tools will enable a systematic, application-oriented design on the one hand, while also serving as a basis for sensorless distributed control methods for cooperative actuation to be developed in a future phase of the SPP. The design of novel multi-stable bias mechanisms from SMP film layers will be a result from the tools as well as an application-oriented electrode geometry of the DE segments. The multi-stable bias will be manufactured by appropriately shape setting the SMPs, resulting in energy-efficient large-stroke actuation. The electrode patterns will be applied through novel sputtering techniques which will be developed during the project, enabling large strokes and high compliance while maintaining high electrical conductivity. The work will be organized into three projects which will be conducted in parallel by three groups, two of which from Systems Engineering/Material Science & Engineering at Saarland University, and one of which from Saarland University of Applied Sciences (htw saar). The first group (Rizzello) will focus on developing micro-scale models to allow for systematic design and self-sensing strategies for arrays of interacting DE membrane actuators, and enable cooperative control design in a future stage. At the same time, the second group (Seelecke) will develop new design concepts and miniaturization strategies for multistable distributed actuators, as well as integrated driving/sensing electronics. Finally, the third group (Schultes) will address aspects related to material and design of compliant micro-structured electrodes necessary for localized activation of segmented DE membranes. The complementary expertise of the three groups will cover different aspects of DE technology which are required for the achievement of the target cooperative actuator system, ensuring the multidisciplinary approach needed for a successful concept development. In addition, the common location in Saarbrücken will ensure a close and synergistic collaboration for the entire project duration.  

Professor Dr.-Ing. Gianluca Rizzello

Universität des Saarlandes
Zentrum für Mechatronik und Automatisierungstechnik gGmbH
Lehrstuhl für intelligente Materialsysteme
Eschberger Weg 46
66121 Saarbrücken

Telefon: +49 681 30271358

E-Mail: gianluca rizzello does-not-exist.imsl uni-saarland de



Professor Dr. Günter Schultes

Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft des Saarlandes
Goebenstraße 40
66117 Saarbrücken

Telefon: +49 681 5867287
Telefax: +49 681 5867414

E-Mail: schultes does-not-exist.htwsaar de



Professor Dr.-Ing. Stefan Seelecke

Universität des Saarlandes
Naturwissenschaftlich-Technische Fakultät
Fachrichtung Systems Engineering
Campus, Geb. A5 1
66123 Saarbrücken

Telefon: +49 681 30271341

E-Mail: seelecke does-not-exist.mx uni-saarland de