Callaghan Innovation Research Papers

Back to Research Papers

TitleRealizing the potential of Dielectric Elastomer Generators
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsMcKay, T., O'Brien B., Calius E.P., and Anderson I.
Conference NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Date Published2011
KeywordsActuators, Artificial muscle, Conducting polymers, Deg, Dielectric elastomer, Dielectric Elastomer Generator, Elastomers, Electro-active polymers, Energy harvesting, Generator, Plastics, Pumps, Water waves
AbstractThe global demand for renewable energy is growing, and ocean waves and wind are renewable energy sources that can provide large amounts of power. A class of variable capacitor power generators called Dielectric Elastomer Generators (DEG), show considerable promise for harvesting this energy because they can be directly coupled to large broadband motions without gearing while maintaining a high energy density, have few moving parts, and are highly flexible. At the system level DEG cannot currently realize their full potential for flexibility, simplicity and low mass because they require rigid and bulky external circuitry. This is because a typical generation cycle requires high voltage charge to be supplied or drained from the DEG as it is mechanically deformed. Recently we presented the double Integrated Self-Priming Circuit (ISPC) generator that minimized external circuitry. This was done by using the inherent capacitance of DEG to store excess energy. The DEG were electrically configured to form a pair of charge pumps. When the DEG were cyclically deformed, the charge pumps produced energy and converted it to a higher charge form. In this paper we present the single ISPC generator that contains just one charge pump. The ability of the new generator to increase its voltage through the accumulation of generated energy did not compare favourably with that of the double ISPC generator. However the single ISPC generator can operate in a wider range of operating conditions and the mass of its external circuitry is 50% that of the double ISPC generator. © 2011 SPIE.

Back to top