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.
- dielectric materials
- traveling-wave devices