Electro-mechanical properties of DE
The main mechanical properties which characterize a DE material is their ability to undergo large elastic strain and to main constant volume during their deformation. Compared to other electro-active materials like peizo electric ceramics DE materials produce large strains. The performance parameters that effect dielectric elastomer as an actuator are mainly specific energy density, actuation pressure, actuation strain and response time efficiency . Silicones based on polydimethyl siloxane and commercial acrylics (available from 3M Corp) have shown the greatest strain and total energy density. Maximum strains of more than 100% have been shown with both of these materials .
Rest of the article describes the following work:
(i) The sample preparation: it involves pre-straining and electrode coating which depends on the requirements of DE as an actuator.
(ii) After obtaining samples the actuation experiment has to be done to obtain the images of sample at different voltage levels.
(iii) Images of the sample are taken at different voltage levels
(iv) Images are processed in MATLAB using image processing toolkit for determining the strain values at the corresponding voltages.
(v) After obtaining the strain values, voltage versus area strain curves are plotted.
Our results which are obtained from simple camera and image processing algorithms match with the curve obtained from very high cost equipment (video extensometer) setup.
 Yoseph Bar Cohen, "Electroactive polymer(EAP) Actuators as Artificial muscles reality, potential and challenges", second edition a publication of SPIE press, USA, 2004.
 Akbay Mehmet Cuneyt, "Performance of Compliant Electrodes in Electro Active Polymers(EAP) Actuators", North Carolina University, Ph. D. thesis, 2004.