New Incremental Actuators based on Electro-active Polymer: Conceptual, Control, and Driver Design Considerations. 

Prasanth Thummala, Henrik Schneider, Zhe Zhang, Michael A. E. Andersen, Rahimullah Sarban

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This paper presents an overview of the widely usedconventional linear actuator technologies and existing electroactivepolymer based linear and rotary actuators. It also providesthe conceptual, control and driver design considerations for anew dielectric electro-active polymer (DEAP) based incrementalactuator. The DEAP incremental actuator consists of threeindependent DEAP actuators with a unique cylindrical designthat potentially simplifies mass production and scalabilitycompared to existing DEAP actuators. To accomplish theincremental motion, a high voltage (HV) bidirectional DC-DCconverter, independently charges and discharges each capacitiveDEAP actuator. The topology used for the HV driver is a peakcurrent controlled bidirectional flyback converter. Thescalability of the proposed DEAP incremental actuator isdiscussed, and different scaled designs are provided. Theestimated speeds and forces for various scaled incrementalactuator designs are provided. The HV drivers areexperimentally tested with a prototype of the DEAP incrementalactuator. The energy efficiency measurement results of one of theHV driver are presented. The DEAP incremental actuatorprototype achieved bidirectional motion with a maximumvelocity of 1.5 mm/s, at 2.87 Hz incremental driving frequency,when all actuators are driven with 1.8 kV. Finally, two newimproved concepts of DEAP based incremental actuator are presented.
Original languageEnglish
JournalI E E E - A S M E Transactions on Mechatronics
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)1496-1508
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Linear actuators
  • Dielectric electro-active polymer (DEAP)
  • Scalability
  • DC-DC power converters,
  • Energy efficiency


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