Innovating Transducers with Soft Materials
What’s DEAP | Actuators & Sensors | Silicone-based DEAP | Structure of Soft Actuator
What are Soft Transducers?
Soft material-based devices, such as actuators and sensors, have been becoming the focus of attention in a variety of emerging applications. Dielectric elastomers and dielectric gels can play a key role as the main components in soft transducers thanks to their elasticity and softness. The shape change of dielectric elastomers and dielectric gels can be used to convert energy (e.g. from electrical to mechanical), leading to sustainable solutions, such as
- Light weighting
- Mechanical compliance
- Design flexibility
Potential applications of soft transducers include: Consumer Electronics, Transportation Electronics, Gaming, Generators (Energy Harvesting), Robotics, Artificial Muscles, Infrastructure, Mattresses, Speakers, and Electric Toothbrushes
Material Comparison and Dow’s Focus
Different materials have unique actuation and stress properties. Dielectric Electroactive Polymer (DEAP) offers differentiated, larger actuation strain.
Principle of Soft Actuator
The simplest form of a DEAP-based soft actuator is a thin elastomer film sandwiched between two electrodes. Applying voltage on both sides of the elastomer film generates Maxwell pressure leading to an increase in area and a decrease in thickness.
Principle of Soft Sensor
A DEAP-based soft sensor is considered a form of a force sensor. An elastomer film changes in capacitance when mechanically deformed. This capacitance change can be used to detect a different level of external force.
Why Silicone-based Dielectric Electroactive Polymer (DEAP)?
At the early stage of research and development, polyacrylate and polyurethane were popular materials used as DEAP. Recently, silicone has attracted a great deal of attention and presents the most promising material due to the following advantages:
- Lower operational voltage
- Large motion
- Low viscoelasticity and faster response
- Durable, reliable and stable operation in harsh environments (high humidity, temperature, etc.)
Dow’s Technology and Sustainable Solutions
Our deep knowledge and long experience in the field of dielectric elastomers and dielectric gels can accelerate your technology and product development with an enhancement of product performance. Silicone materials have been recognized to offer superior properties that are suited for soft transducers. We can tailor silicone-based dielectric elastomer and dielectric gel products for your specific application needs. In addition, Dow’s silicone and organic materials science offers complementary strength in advancing materials science for soft transducers as follows:
- Polymer structure design and synthesis
- Formulation and composite development
- Mechanical and electrical properties optimization
- Total solution offering
- Dielectric elastomers
- Dielectric gels
- Electrically conductive adhesives
- Process support including thin film fabrication
- Fundamental electromechanical performance evaluation
- Dielectric elastomers
|Dow's Product||Application||Unique feature|
|ME-7540||Electroactive elastomer||High dielectric constant|
|SYLGARD 184||Electroactive elastomer||Quick response speed|
|ME-1800||Electrically conductive adhesive||High electrical conductivity|
|OS-20||Diluent for DEAP or electrode printing||Ideal for silicone dilution|
Providing our customers with best-in-class dielectric elastomer and dielectric gel products, Dow’s material science expertise and sustainable solutions add more advantages to make widespread commercial use of soft transducers possible. Contact us.