Performance of soft dielectric laminated composites

Massimiliano Gei, Roberta Springhetti, Eliana Bortot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


This paper contains a thorough investigation of the performance of electrically activated layered soft dielectric composite actuators under plane deformation. Noting that the activation can be induced by controlling either the voltage or the surface charge, the overall behaviour of the system is obtained via homogenization at large strains, taking either the macroscopic electric field or the macroscopic electric displacement field as independent electrical variables. The performance of a two-phase composite actuator compared to that of the homogeneous case is highlighted for few boundary-value problems and for different values of stiffness and permittivity ratios between constituents being significant for applications, where the soft matrix is reinforced by a relatively small volume fraction of a stiff and high-permittivity phase. For charge-controlled devices, it is shown that some composite layouts admit, on one hand, the occurrence of pull-in/snap-through instabilities that can be exploited to design release-actuated systems, and on the other hand, the possibility of thickening at increasing surface charge density.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104014
JournalSmart Materials and Structures
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sept 2013


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