Performance of a prototype travelling wave actuator made from a dielectric elastomer

Alan D. Poole, Julian David Booker, Clive L. Wishart, Neville McNeill, Philip H. Mellor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The primary aim of the research is to demonstrate the fabrication and operation of a traveling wave actuator made from a silicone dielectric elastomer. Multiple folded stack configurations of a silicone are assembled to create individually controllable regions in a single device, allowing a traveling-wave pattern of electrical stimuli to be applied to each active region. The prototype actuator is sandwiched between two friction surfaces allowing motion in response to the traveling wave. A number of issues related to the research and development of the prototype actuator are considered, including traveling-wave principle, folded stack design, actuator fabrication, and electrical control. A prototype is tested with a bespoke multiple-channel high-voltage converter to assess the performance characteristics of stroke, force, and frequency. Practical velocities and forces are achieved; however, a number of challenges are discussed in order to increase performance to comparable levels exhibited by commercial actuators with high-force long-stroke capabilities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)525-533
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2011


  • actuators
  • dielectric materials
  • traveling-wave devices


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