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TitleSelf-priming dielectric elastomer generator design
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsMcKay, T., O'Brien B., Calius E.P., and Anderson I.
Conference NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Date Published2012
KeywordsConducting polymers, Dielectric elastomers, Elastomers, Electrical charges, Electroactive polymer actuators, Energy productions, Environmental technology, Harvesting energies, High energy densities, Operating voltage, Variable capacitor, Wide frequency range
AbstractDielectric elastomer generators (DEG) are variable capacitor power generators that are a highly promising technology for harvesting energy from environmental sources because they have the ability to work over a wide frequency range without sacrificing their high energy density or efficiency. DEG can also take on a wide range of configurations, so they are customizable to the energy source. A typical generation cycle requires electrical charge to be supplied and removed from the DEG at appropriate times as it is mechanically deformed. The manner in which the DEG charge state is controlled greatly influences energy production. The recently developed self-priming circuit can provide this functionality without any active electronics, but it is not configurable to match the generator and its energy source. In this paper a highly configurable self-priming circuit is introduced and an analysis of the self-priming DEG cycle is performed to obtain design rules to optimize the rate at which it can boost its operating voltage. In a case study we compare the performance of an initial prototype selfpriming circuit with one that has been intentionally optimized. The optimized generator voltage climbed from 30 V up to 1500 V in 27 cycles, whereas the same generator required 37 cycles when the suboptimal self-priming circuit was used.. © 2012 SPIE.

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