ERJ staff report (DS)
Auckland, new Zealand -- Researchers at the Biomimetics Group at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute are using dielectric elastomer generators to make high power artificial muscles.
Dielectric elastomers consist of a compliant electrical insulator sandwiched between two electrically conducting electrodes. The insulator is typically made of silicone rubber and the electrodes of carbon grease. When a high voltage is applied across the electrodes, charge accumulates in each electrode leaving positive charges in one and negative charges in the other. These positive and negative charges attract, squashing the insulating membrane, and, because the membrane is incompressible, they cause it to expand in area.
The group has a paper published in Applied Physics Letters this week.
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Paper, (Soft generators using dielectric elastomers ) from Applied Physics Letters / Volume 98 / Issue 14
Artificial muscle technology from Auckland Bioengineering Institute