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TitleSelf-priming dielectric elastomer generators
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsMcKay, T., O'Brien B., Calius E.P., and Anderson I.
JournalSmart Materials and Structures
Date Published2010
ISSN09641726 (ISSN)
KeywordsAuxiliary power, Charge loss, Cost reduction, Dielectric elastomers, Electrical energy sources, Energy source, High voltage transformers, Rubber, Self-priming, System costs, System loss
AbstractDielectric elastomer generators (DEG) in their present form are not suitable for autonomous power generation; they simply increase the amount of power that an electrical energy source can supply. They require a priming charge for each cycle, normally provided by an auxiliary power source but, due to charges being transferred to a load or depleted by system losses, the energy source will eventually need replacing. In this paper we present a self-priming DEG system that is capable of replenishing these charge losses from generated energy, meaning that the energy source no longer requires periodic replacement. We then experimentally demonstrate that this system not only can replenish charge losses, but also is capable of increasing the amount of charge in the system and the voltage across the capacitance storing the charge. For instance, the system was capable of gradually boosting its voltage from 10V up to 3.25kV. This is highly advantageous because it was also shown that the efficiency of DEG power generation increases monotonically with DEG voltage. Also, this system allows these higher voltages to be reached without the need for a high voltage transformer, reducing the system cost. © 2010 IOP Publishing Ltd.

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