Catastrophic thinning of dielectric elastomers
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Zurlo, G., Destrade, M., DeTommasi, D., & Puglisi, G. (2017). Catastrophic Thinning of Dielectric Elastomers. Physical Review Letters, 118(7), 078001, DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.118.078001
We provide an energetic insight into the catastrophic nature of thinning instability in soft electroactive elastomers. This phenomenon is a major obstacle to the development of giant actuators, yet it is neither completely understood nor modeled accurately. In excellent agreement with experiments, we give a simple formula to predict the critical voltages for instability patterns; we model their shape and show that reversible (elastic) equilibrium is impossible beyond their onset. Our derivation is fully analytical, does not require finite element simulations, and can be extended to include prestretch and various material models.