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TitleAn integrated dielectric elastomer generator model
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsMcKay, T., O'Brien B., Calius E.P., and Anderson I.
Conference NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Date Published2010
KeywordsABAQUS, Actuators, Capacitance, Circuit simulation, Conducting polymers, Deformation, Design tool, Diaphragms, Dielectric elastomers, Dielectric materials, Electric fields, Electrical energy, Electrical loss, Electrodes, Energy harvesting, Finite element method, Finite element models, Flexible electrodes, Generator models, Hyper elastic, Inhomogeneous deformation, Loss prevention, Mechanical deformation, Ocean waves, Oceanography, Opposite charge, Optimal design, Rubber, Self-priming, SPICE, SPICE circuit simulation, System levels, Variable capacitor, Water waves, Wind power
AbstractDielectric Elastomer Generator(s) (DEG), are essentially variable capacitor power generators formed by hyper-elastic dielectric materials sandwiched between flexible electrodes. Electrical energy can be produced from a stretched, charged DEG by relaxing the mechanical deformation whilst maintaining the amount of charge on its electrodes. This increases the distance between opposite charges and packs likecharges more densely, increasing the amount of electrical energy. DEG show promise for harvesting energy from environmental sources such as wind and ocean waves. DEG can undergo large inhomogeneous deformations and electric fields during operation, meaning it can be difficult to experimentally determine optimal designs. Also, the circuit that is used for harnessing DEG energy influences the DEG output by controlling the amount of charge on the DEG. In this paper an integrated DEG model was developed where an ABAQUS finite element model is used to model the DEG and data from this model is input to a system level LT-Spice circuit simulation. As a case-study, the model was used as a design tool for analysing a diaphragm DEG connected to a self-priming circuit. That is, a circuit capable of overcoming electrical losses by using some of the DEG energy to boost the charge in the system. Our ABAQUS model was experimentally validated to predict the varying capacitance of a diaphragm DEG deformed inhomogeneously to within 6% error. © 2010 Copyright SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering.

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