Date of Original Version
© 2014 AIP Publishing LLC
Abstract or Description
Using principles of damped harmonic oscillation with continuous media, we examineelectrostatic energy harvesting with a “soft-matter” array of dielectric elastomer (DE) transducers.The array is composed of infinitely thin and deformable electrodes separated by layers of insulating elastomer. During vibration, it deforms longitudinally, resulting in a change in the capacitance and electrical enthalpy of the charged electrodes. Depending on the phase ofelectrostatic loading, the DE array can function as either an actuator that amplifies small vibrations or a generator that converts these external excitations into electrical power. Both cases are addressed with a comprehensive theory that accounts for the influence of viscoelasticity, dielectric breakdown, and electromechanical coupling induced by Maxwellstress. In the case of a linearized Kelvin-Voigt model of the dielectric, we obtain a closed-form estimate for the electrical power output and a scaling law for DE generator design. For the complete nonlinear model, we obtain the optimal electrostatic voltage input for maximum electrical power output.
Applied Physics Letters, 105, 241905.