Dielectric elastomers belong to the family of electroactive polymers (EAP) and are flat elastomer composites made of an electrically non-conductive elastomer film covered on both sides by conductive and stretchable electrode layers. Electrotechnically, this is a flexible and expandable capacitor.
The dielectric between the electrodes can consist of different elastomers. Silicone elastomer has the main advantage that it is chemically inert, can be used in a wide temperature range (about -50 to +200 °C) and is extremely variable in its mechanical properties. The electrode layers consist, for example, of carbon or metal particles in a silicone matrix. Dielectric elastomers can be used for very different technologies such as mechanical sensors, actuators and generators.
At the Center Smart Materials and Adaptive Systems, dielectric elastomers can be manufactured from various material components and in a wide variety of shapes. Various manufacturing processes are available for this purpose.