Parallel input parallel output high voltage bi-directional converters for driving dielectric electro active polymer actuators

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

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Dielectric electroactive polymer (DEAP) actuators are capacitive devices which provide mechanical motions when charged electrically. The charging characteristics of a DEAP actuator depends on its size, voltage applied to its electrodes, and its operating frequency. The main idea of this paper is to design and implement driving circuits for the DEAP actuators for their use in various applications. This paper presents implementation of parallel input, parallel output, high voltage (~2.5 kV) bi-directional DC-DC converters for driving the DEAP actuators. The topology is a bidirectional flyback DC-DC converter incorporating commercially available high voltage MOSFETs (4 kV) and high voltage diodes (5 kV). Although the average current of the aforementioned devices is limited to 300 mA and 150 mA, respectively, connecting the outputs of multiple converters in parallel can provide a scalable design. This enables operating the DEAP actuators in various static and dynamic applications e.g. positioning, vibration generation or damping, and pumps. The proposed idea is experimentally verified by connecting three high voltage converters in parallel to operate a single DEAP actuator. The experimental results with both film capacitive load and the DEAP actuator are shown for a maximum charging voltage of 2 kV.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE : Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD)
Number of pages15
PublisherSPIE - International Society for Optical Engineering
Publication date2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventSPIE Smart Structures/NDE: Smart Structures and Materials & Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring - Town & Country Resort and Convention Cente, San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: 9 Mar 201413 Mar 2014


ConferenceSPIE Smart Structures/NDE
LocationTown & Country Resort and Convention Cente
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA
Internet address


  • Dielectric Electro Active Polymer
  • High voltage power converters
  • Capacitive actuator
  • Energy efficiency
  • Flyback converter


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