Nonlinear Dynamics of a Magnetically Coupled Dielectric Elastomer Actuator

Chongjing Cao, Tom L Hill, Andrew T Conn, Xing Gao, Bo Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
130 Downloads (Pure)


The magnetically coupled dielectric elastomer actuator (MCDEA) is an emerging two-degree-of freedom DEA system that demonstrates rich dynamic behaviours and promising potential applications in robotics, energy harvesting and smart structures. However, the three-dimensional geometry, nonlinearity and viscoelasticity in the system leads to complex nonlinear dynamic behaviour which is challenging to predict. In this work, we develop a numerical model that can accurately characterize its dynamic responses. This model, along with experimental results, demonstrate the complex dynamic phenomena of this MCDEA system, including super-harmonic, primary harmonic and subharmonic resonances, bifurcations and multiple modes of oscillation. Novel dynamic control strategies including phase tuning and frequency control are proposed in this work, allowing for control of the amplitude and the appearance of a specific resonance and the occurrence of emerging dynamic behaviours such as beat phenomena. These findings have numerous additional areas including active vibrational control, energy harvesting and programmable soft motors for on-demand locomotion.
Original languageEnglish
Article number044033
JournalPhysical Review Applied
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2019


  • Dielectric elastomer actuator (DEA)
  • Magnetic coupling
  • Nonlinear dynamics
  • 24 Programmable soft material
  • Resonant actuation


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