Modelling the curing process in particle-filled electro-active polymers with a dispersion anisotropy

Abstract

Even for a moderate actuation, a large electric voltage requirement hinders the application of electro-active polymers (EAPs) in many areas. Hence, among other mechanisms, the actuation enhancement in EAPs is performed via inclusions of high-dielectric-permittivity fillers in the matrix material in the uncured stage. Moreover, to obtain an optimum advantage from the high-dielectric-permittivity fillers, an electric field can be applied during the curing process which helps the particles to align in a preferred direction. To be specific, recent experimental evidences show that these particles form a dispersed anisotropy rather than a perfect transverse anisotropic structure. The polymer curing process is a complex (visco-) elastic phenomenon where a liquid polymer gradually transforms into a solid macromolecular structure due to cross-linking of the initial solution of short polymer chains. This phase transition comes along with an increase in the material stiffness and a volume shrinkage. In this paper we present a phenomenologically inspired large strain framework for simulating the curing process of particle-filled electro-active polymers with a dispersion-type anisotropy that can work under the influence of an electro-mechanically coupled load. The application of the proposed approach is demonstrated with some numerical examples. These examples illustrate that the model can predict common features in particle-filled dispersed electro-active polymers undergoing curing processes in the presence of an electro-mechanically coupled load.

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Correspondence to Mokarram Hossain.

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Communicated by Michael Johlitz, Lucien Laiarinandrasana, Yann Marco.

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Hossain, M. Modelling the curing process in particle-filled electro-active polymers with a dispersion anisotropy. Continuum Mech. Thermodyn. 32, 351–367 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00161-019-00747-5

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Keywords

  • Electro-active polymers
  • Polymer curing
  • Electro-mechanically coupled problem
  • Dispersion anisotropy
  • Electro-elasticity
  • Curing shrinkage