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Giant, voltage-actuated deformation of a dielectric elastomer under dead load

Far greater voltage-actuated deformation is achievable for a dielectric elastomer under equal-biaxial dead load than under rigid constraint usually employed. Areal strains of 488% are demonstrated. The dead load suppresses electric breakdown, enabling the elastomer to survive the snap-through electromechanical instability. The breakdown voltage is found to increase with the voltage ramp rate. A nonlinear model for viscoelastic dielectric elastomers is developed and shown to be consistent with the experimental observations. 

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