EAPs are polymers that experience a deformation when excited by an electric field. The dielectric EAP is made up of an elastomer sandwiched between layers of compliant electrodes. Often there is a layer of insulation above the bottom conductive material as well.
When an electric field is applied to the EAP there is an electrostatic force created between the electrodes causing displacement of the elastomer. When the elastomer has an array of pockets cut in to it, the electrostatic pressure creates reaction forces on the walls of the pocket and the upper membrane expands in to the pocket; this creates dimples with a given deflection and diameter.
Funded by: Infoscitex (main sponsor: AFOSR)
Co-PI: Lucy Zhang
Grad students: Sarah Zaremski and Andy Weddle,