Silicone elastomers have been heavily investigated as candidates for the flexible insulator material in dielectric elastomer transducers and are as such almost ideal candidates because of their inherent softness and compliance. However, silicone elastomers suffer from low dielectric permittivity. This shortcoming has been attempted optimized through different approaches during recent years. Material optimization with the sole purpose of increasing the dielectric permittivity may lead to the introduction of problematic phenomena such as premature electrical breakdown due to high leakage currents of the thin elastomer film. Within this work, electrical breakdown phenomena of various types of permittivity-enhanced silicone elastomers are investigated. Results showed that different types of polymer backbone chemistries lead to differences in electrical breakdown patterns, which were revealed through SEM imaging. This may pave the way towards a better understanding of electrical breakdown mechanisms of dielectric elastomers and potentially lead to materials with increased electrical breakdown strengths.
Bibliographical note© 2017 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
- Silicone elastomers
- Electrical breakdown
- Voltage stabilization