Commercial viability of dielectric elastomers (DEs) is currently limited by a few obstacles, including high driving voltages (in the kV range). Driving voltage can be lowered by either decreasing the Young's modulus or increasing the dielectric permittivity of silicone elastomers, or a combination thereof. A decrease in the Young's modulus, however, is often accompanied by a loss in mechanical stability, whereas increases in dielectric permittivity are usually followed by a large increase in dielectric loss followed by a decrease in breakdown strength and thereby the lifetime of the DE. A new soft elastomer matrix, with high dielectric permittivity and a low Young's modulus, aligned with no loss of mechanical stability, was prepared through the use of commercially available chloropropyl-functional silicone oil mixed into a tough commercial liquid silicone rubber silicone elastomer. The addition of chloropropyl-functional silicone oil in concentrations up to 30 phr was found to improve the properties of the silicone elastomer significantly, as dielectric permittivity increased to 4.4, dielectric breakdown increased up to 25% and dielectric losses were reduced. The chloropropyl-functional silicone oil also decreased the dielectric losses of an elastomer containing dielectric permittivity-enhancing TiO2 fillers. Commercially available chloropropyl-functional silicone oil thus constitutes a facile method for improved silicone DEs, with very low dielectric losses.
- Dielectric elastomer
- Dielectric loss