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Analysis and optimisation of soft electroactive laminated composites

Mutasa, Kudzai 2017. Analysis and optimisation of soft electroactive laminated composites. MPhil Thesis, Cardiff University.
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The aim of this study was to improve the overall electromechanical response of dielectric composite actuators. The microstructures of rank-1 and rank-2 laminates, composed of two materials of varying dielectric and shear moduli, were optimised for four types of actuation due to an applied nominal electric �eld. A homogenization theory, established in the literature in �nite electroelasticity for rank-1 layered composites, was specialized to the actuation types to develop a closed-form solution. A similar lamination methodology was then derived for rank-2 laminates to obtain a numerical solution. Expressions for speci�c sequentially laminated microstructures of rank-1 and rank-2 type were obtained so as to determine optimum microstructural con�gurations for maximum longitudinal stretch. These results were obtained iteratively using the Newton-Raphson method for a set of simultaneous equations. Results for rank-1 laminates obtained in �nite strain were found to produce actuation strains higher than those obtained by previous authors in small strain. Rank-2 laminates then presented an improvement in actuation strain compared to those obtained in small strain by the same authors. Ratios of shear and dielectric moduli were varied to obtain di�erent contrasts and four parameters were de�ned to contribute to rank-2 laminate performance, namely two lamination angles and two volume fractions. For all actuation types, rank-2 longitudinal stretch presented strong improvement from rank-1 laminates. Electromechanical instability was observed in rank-2 laminates for two of the four actuation types and a trade-o� requirement was demonstrated between applied nominal electric �eld, shear and laminate microstructure for optimum performance. At least a tenfold enhancement of phase electric �elds was obtained for rank-2 laminates and the current con�guration of lamination angles highlighted di�erences to the reference con�guration. The ratios of shear and dielectric moduli were lastly perturbed and further enhancement of maximum longitudinal stretch obtained as a foundation for future work.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Engineering
Uncontrolled Keywords: Electro-Elasticity; Electro-Active; Composite; Dielectric; Elastomer; Mechanics.
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 5 February 2018
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2018 17:11

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