Dielectric Elastomer Actuators (DEAs) consist of an elastomeric layer sandwiched between two compliant electrodes. An electric field applied between the two electrodes will lead to a compression of the elastomer due to the Maxwell’s pressure. DEA can be used for many active applications such as pumps, muscles and so on, where the voltage drives the motion, but they can also operate inversely for energy harvesting or for sensor applications, when the displacement of charges due to a change in thickness is stored or detected. Energy harvesting systems like buoys using wave energy or shoe soles extracting energy from walking have been demonstrated. In this contribution we investigate polychloroprene (CR) as a new material for DEA and describe its potential for use in energy harvesting. To this end, a full characterization of the material properties was undertaken. We find that the very high permittivity combined with good mechanical properties makes this material a promising novel candidate for the energy harvesting application.
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