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PhD Winterschool on Dielectric Elastomer Transducers

Zhigang Suo's picture

I’ve just come back from a Winter School on Dielectric Elastomer Transducers, held at Monte Verità, Ascona, Switzerland, 10-16 January 2010.  Lectures were given by various people, covering the theory of electromechanical interaction, design of devices, development of materials, and technologies of manufacturing.  I was asked to give three lectures on the theory.  I attach the slides of my lectures.

The Winter School was organized by Gabor Kovacs, of EMPA, a research institute for materials science and technology at ETH, Switzerland.  Gabor’s group has developed an exceptionally impressive program on dielectric elastomers, ranging from fundamental principles, to innovative devices, and to manufacturing technologies.   The web site of his group is an excellent resource itself.  Take a look at their video of the fish-like airship powered by dielectric elastomers. 

The state of the art of dielectric elastomers is reviewed in a recent article:  P. Brochu and Q.B. Pei, Advances in dielectric elastomers for actuators and artificial muscles, Macromolecular Rapid Communications 2010, 31, 10-36.

Research and development on dielectric elastomers have started in many existing companies.  Three companies have been founded to focus on dielectric elastomers:

You can find many vidoes on YouTube for demonstrating dielectric elastomers.  Here is one that describes using dielectric elastomers to harvest energy from ocean waves.


Jung W. Hong's picture

Hello Zhigang,

Thank you for the interesting information and nice presentation materials.

Dielectric elastomers look really promising. Compared with Piezoelectric materials, still there are some tradeoffs regarding the maximum generated force although elastomer can make much larger deformation. However, elastomers are under development by many manufacturers. So maybe the material will be very versatile for the engineering use in the near future!

ChangyongCao's picture

Hi, Prof.Suo,

Thank you for sharing your good lectures to community.

It is interesting and nice.


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