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USING PID CONTROL TO REDUCE THE

NON-LINEARITY OF OF DIELECTRIC
ELASTOMER (DE) ACTUATORS
LOUIS LISTER (26655454)
WHAT IS A DIELECTRIC
ELASTOMER?
• Elastomer sandwiched between two
compliant electrodes.
• When a signal is applied across the
plates, a deformation of the elastomer
occurs
• Decreases in direction of force
• Increases in directions perpendicular to
force

Fig. 1. Schematic of a dielectric elastomer in its (a) initial state, and (b) the deformed state
under mechanical and electrical loading.
INHERENT NON-LINEARITY

• superharmonics, phase lag and subharmonics


can be seen when excited with harmonic
voltage actuation.
• In the 3rd figure, the strain stiffening effect can
also be seen due to visco-hyperelasticity

Fig. 7. Time-domain responses of the DE under (a) super-


harmonic frequency f = 10 Hz, (b) harmonic frequency f = 20 Hz,
(c) sub-harmonic frequency f = 40 Hz
NON-LINEARITY IN LOUDSPEAKER (DISSERTATION)
107 Design and Manufacture of a DEAP
AM Loudspeaker
Louis Lister (26655454) – supervised by Emiliano Rustighi

Introduction
Loudspeakers are widespread throughout many aspects of life from PA systems to home stereo, and there are many variations in the method of sound propagation used, from the traditional transducer drivers, to
electrostatic loudspeakers. But these are relatively expensive to produce and are usually quite large and bulky. Thus the aim of this project was to create a loudspeaker using Dielectric Electro Active Polymers (DEAP’s) as
the means for sound propagation, as the materials are cheap in relation to other methods, and the design is compact.

Theory Design Considerations


The core principle behind DEAP’s is the dielectric effect. Where a The process of designing the loudspeaker using DEAP required making the following
dielectric material is sandwiched between two charged electrodes, decisions:
and a dielectric material is defined as a material that does not • Stack Actuator – Using a stack actuator means that it is possible to multiply the
conduct electricity, but does conduct electric field. This occurs displacement at the outer layer by the total, achieving greater volume
because the material has polar molecules which are able to align displacement.
their dipole moments with the electric field (Nave, 2012).
• Compliant vs rigid electrodes – By choosing a stack actuator the boundary layers of
The configuration of a DEAP is electrically similar to that of a the stack must be rigid. If a compliant electrode was chosen for the intermediate
capacitor, except that the separation is filled with a compliant layers there would be strain constraint in the layers close to the boundary (see Figure 2 – 3 figures: a) showing the strain constraint problem
figure 2a). Considering this, and that production of compliant electrodes is more of stack actuators, b) + c) showing 2 different perforation
material instead of air. By modelling this as a capacitor, it is possible stack patterns (Kaal and Herold, 2013)
to derive the stress on the dielectric due to the magnetic field, also costly and rigid conductive sheet metal are readily available, rigid electrodes were
chosen for this design.
Finished Prototype
known as the Maxwell pressure. As the material is compliant and the
electrodes arent fixed, this results in a change in separation between • Perforations – Similarly, by adding perforations to the electrodes,
the electrodes as shown in figure 1, below. it is possible to restrict all deformation to the direction of
actuation, thus eliminating the boundary strain constraint. Two
configurations of this can be seen in figures 2b and 2c, which
show a symmetric stack pattern and an alternating stack pattern
respectively.
• Electrode Design – The electrode was chosen to be circular as
this closer resembles the piston in an infinite baffle. The
electrode was cut out of pre-perforated steel sheeting, after
considering the other options. Then 20 electrodes were cut,
Figure 1 - Figure showing the core function of DEAP’s (Pelrine and Kornbluh,
though only five during testing.
2008)
• 3D Model – The casing was designed on solid works, and was 3D
This separation is linear with the change in charge across the printed on site. The finished product seen to the right. Some of
electrodes, therefore, if a sinusoidal charge signal is applied across the features include; wall mounting points, removable lid, and
them, they will oscillate. This results in the ability to produce sound pins to hold the electrodes on.
using DEAP’s. Figure 3 – Figure showing the finished product with the lid on and off

Results & Discussion


Results:
• Sine Tones – The first experiment that was undertaken was a series of 11 sine tones from 1 kHz to 2 kHz in 0.1 kHz increments. These were recorded for
10 seconds and then the the input and output response was plotted using python, with an example from the 1.5 kHz tone being shown in figure 4. It can
be seen that the 2nd and 3rd harmonics have been excited (something which is reflected in the phase diagram) and this was prevalent throughout all the
single tone results. There was also clear distortion throughout, occurring at low frequencies, namely at 500 Hz and below 200 Hz. The 500 Hz
narrowband noise can be attributed to the noise of the nearby amplifier, whereas the 200 Hz broadband noise cannot.
• Logarithmic Sine Sweep – The next experiment was a continuous logarithmic sine sweep from
20 Hz to 20 kHz, which was then recorded and the transfer function calculated, shown in figure
5. The transfer function shows that the speaker operates mostly above 400 Hz, below which the
rises in magnitude can be attributed to background noise, with the peak at 500 Hz being
attributed to the amplifier noise, as shown in the previous experiment. Removing these, it is
possible to see that the transfer function seems similar to that of a distributed mode
loudspeaker, in which a seemingly flat response is obtained from exciting as many modes as
possible (Bank, 2001).
Figure 4 – Figure showing output frequency response to a 1.5 kHz • Spectrogram – The recording of the sine sweep was then converted to a spectrogram, as was
tone in comparison with the input. the input sine sweep for comparison. This shows that there are multiple sweeps of harmonics
present in the recorded sine sweep. They start when the output reaches a high enough volume,
at around 7 seconds in, for them to be excited. They are caused by the harmonic distortion of
the loudspeaker and potentially the recording equipment used for measurement (Fazi, 2017). It
can also be seen that around the main curve in the recorded output that the background noise
at close frequencies has been masked in the recording, which could be due to the recording
equipment compressing the file.
Discussion:
• Speaker Function – The speaker worked, despite concerns that the perforations at the
boundary of the electrodes would cause sparking due to the sharp edges and high voltage
required. It was found however, that some of the higher sine tones decreased in volume as they
were being played. A potential solution that would be worth investigating would be pre
stretching the dielectric.
• Cost – The cost of the materials used in the speaker came to just under £100. Considering that
the speaker is a one-off prototype, this is very low cost, and all the elements needed to recreate
this speaker are readily available.

Figure 5 – Figure showing the output frequency response to a • Casing Design – Improvements to the design are needed, for example; having the pins
logarithmic sine sweep compared to the input, and the transfer separately inserted so that they are conducting and less likely to break. Also, the depth of the
Figure 6 – Figures showing spectrograms of both the input
function (output/input). casing is unnecessary. and output logarithmic sine sweep.

Conclusions & Further Work References


The loudspeaker works, is relatively cheap, and could, with a lot of further research on sound quality, be a viable • Bank, G. (2001). The Distributed Mode Loudspeaker (DML). In: J. Borwick, ed., Loudspeaker and Headphone Handbook,
3rd ed. Focal Press.
option for a commercial loudspeaker. It would be necessary first to test the speakers response and directivity in the • Fazi, F. (2017). Room Acoustics Measurements.
anechoic chamber for clearer results. Further work could then be undertaken to: • Kaal, W. and Herold, S. (2013). Numerical investigations on dielectric stack actuators with perforated electrodes. Smart
• Test the effect of different electrode materials Materials and Structures, 22(10).
• Nave, R. (2012). Dielectrics. [online] Hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu. Available at: http://hyperphysics.phy-
• Investigate how changing the design, such as material thicknesses and pre stretch, affects the response
astr.gsu.edu/hbase/electric/dielec.html#c1 [Accessed 19 Apr. 2017].
• Test the speaker mounted against a pseudo infinite baffle (i.e. a big wall) as this would test the response in a • Pelrine, R. and Kornbluh, R. (2008). Electromechanical Transduction Effects in Dielectric Elastomers: Actuation, Sensing,
typical setting for the speaker. Stiffness Modulation and Electric Energy Generation. In: F. Carpi, D. De Rossi, R. Kornbluh, R. Pelrine and P. Sommer-
Larsen, ed., Dielectric Elastomers as Electromechanical Transducers, 1st ed. Elsevier BV.
NON-LINEARITY IN LOUDSPEAKER (DISSERTATION)
107 Design and Manufacture of a DEAP
AM Loudspeaker
Louis Lister (26655454) – supervised by Emiliano Rustighi

Introduction
Loudspeakers are widespread throughout many aspects of life from PA systems to home stereo, and there are many variations in the method of sound propagation used, from the traditional transducer drivers, to
electrostatic loudspeakers. But these are relatively expensive to produce and are usually quite large and bulky. Thus the aim of this project was to create a loudspeaker using Dielectric Electro Active Polymers (DEAP’s) as
the means for sound propagation, as the materials are cheap in relation to other methods, and the design is compact.

Theory Design Considerations


The core principle behind DEAP’s is the dielectric effect. Where a The process of designing the loudspeaker using DEAP required making the following
dielectric material is sandwiched between two charged electrodes, decisions:
and a dielectric material is defined as a material that does not • Stack Actuator – Using a stack actuator means that it is possible to multiply the
conduct electricity, but does conduct electric field. This occurs displacement at the outer layer by the total, achieving greater volume
because the material has polar molecules which are able to align displacement.
their dipole moments with the electric field (Nave, 2012).
• Compliant vs rigid electrodes – By choosing a stack actuator the boundary layers of
The configuration of a DEAP is electrically similar to that of a the stack must be rigid. If a compliant electrode was chosen for the intermediate
capacitor, except that the separation is filled with a compliant layers there would be strain constraint in the layers close to the boundary (see Figure 2 – 3 figures: a) showing the strain constraint problem
figure 2a). Considering this, and that production of compliant electrodes is more of stack actuators, b) + c) showing 2 different perforation
material instead of air. By modelling this as a capacitor, it is possible stack patterns (Kaal and Herold, 2013)
to derive the stress on the dielectric due to the magnetic field, also costly and rigid conductive sheet metal are readily available, rigid electrodes were
chosen for this design.
Finished Prototype
known as the Maxwell pressure. As the material is compliant and the
electrodes arent fixed, this results in a change in separation between • Perforations – Similarly, by adding perforations to the electrodes,
the electrodes as shown in figure 1, below. it is possible to restrict all deformation to the direction of
actuation, thus eliminating the boundary strain constraint. Two
configurations of this can be seen in figures 2b and 2c, which
show a symmetric stack pattern and an alternating stack pattern
respectively.
• Electrode Design – The electrode was chosen to be circular as
this closer resembles the piston in an infinite baffle. The
electrode was cut out of pre-perforated steel sheeting, after
considering the other options. Then 20 electrodes were cut,
Figure 1 - Figure showing the core function of DEAP’s (Pelrine and Kornbluh,
though only five during testing.
2008)
• 3D Model – The casing was designed on solid works, and was 3D
This separation is linear with the change in charge across the printed on site. The finished product seen to the right. Some of
electrodes, therefore, if a sinusoidal charge signal is applied across the features include; wall mounting points, removable lid, and
them, they will oscillate. This results in the ability to produce sound pins to hold the electrodes on.
using DEAP’s. Figure 3 – Figure showing the finished product with the lid on and off

Results & Discussion


Results:
• Sine Tones – The first experiment that was undertaken was a series of 11 sine tones from 1 kHz to 2 kHz in 0.1 kHz increments. These were recorded for
10 seconds and then the the input and output response was plotted using python, with an example from the 1.5 kHz tone being shown in figure 4. It can
be seen that the 2nd and 3rd harmonics have been excited (something which is reflected in the phase diagram) and this was prevalent throughout all the
single tone results. There was also clear distortion throughout, occurring at low frequencies, namely at 500 Hz and below 200 Hz. The 500 Hz
narrowband noise can be attributed to the noise of the nearby amplifier, whereas the 200 Hz broadband noise cannot.
• Logarithmic Sine Sweep – The next experiment was a continuous logarithmic sine sweep from
20 Hz to 20 kHz, which was then recorded and the transfer function calculated, shown in figure
5. The transfer function shows that the speaker operates mostly above 400 Hz, below which the
rises in magnitude can be attributed to background noise, with the peak at 500 Hz being
attributed to the amplifier noise, as shown in the previous experiment. Removing these, it is
possible to see that the transfer function seems similar to that of a distributed mode
loudspeaker, in which a seemingly flat response is obtained from exciting as many modes as
possible (Bank, 2001).
Figure 4 – Figure showing output frequency response to a 1.5 kHz • Spectrogram – The recording of the sine sweep was then converted to a spectrogram, as was
tone in comparison with the input. the input sine sweep for comparison. This shows that there are multiple sweeps of harmonics
present in the recorded sine sweep. They start when the output reaches a high enough volume,
at around 7 seconds in, for them to be excited. They are caused by the harmonic distortion of
the loudspeaker and potentially the recording equipment used for measurement (Fazi, 2017). It
can also be seen that around the main curve in the recorded output that the background noise
at close frequencies has been masked in the recording, which could be due to the recording
equipment compressing the file.
Discussion:
• Speaker Function – The speaker worked, despite concerns that the perforations at the
boundary of the electrodes would cause sparking due to the sharp edges and high voltage
required. It was found however, that some of the higher sine tones decreased in volume as they
were being played. A potential solution that would be worth investigating would be pre
stretching the dielectric.
• Cost – The cost of the materials used in the speaker came to just under £100. Considering that
the speaker is a one-off prototype, this is very low cost, and all the elements needed to recreate
this speaker are readily available.

Figure 5 – Figure showing the output frequency response to a • Casing Design – Improvements to the design are needed, for example; having the pins
logarithmic sine sweep compared to the input, and the transfer separately inserted so that they are conducting and less likely to break. Also, the depth of the
Figure 6 – Figures showing spectrograms of both the input
function (output/input). casing is unnecessary. and output logarithmic sine sweep.

Conclusions & Further Work References


The loudspeaker works, is relatively cheap, and could, with a lot of further research on sound quality, be a viable • Bank, G. (2001). The Distributed Mode Loudspeaker (DML). In: J. Borwick, ed., Loudspeaker and Headphone Handbook,
3rd ed. Focal Press.
option for a commercial loudspeaker. It would be necessary first to test the speakers response and directivity in the • Fazi, F. (2017). Room Acoustics Measurements.
anechoic chamber for clearer results. Further work could then be undertaken to: • Kaal, W. and Herold, S. (2013). Numerical investigations on dielectric stack actuators with perforated electrodes. Smart
• Test the effect of different electrode materials Materials and Structures, 22(10).
• Nave, R. (2012). Dielectrics. [online] Hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu. Available at: http://hyperphysics.phy-
• Investigate how changing the design, such as material thicknesses and pre stretch, affects the response
astr.gsu.edu/hbase/electric/dielec.html#c1 [Accessed 19 Apr. 2017].
• Test the speaker mounted against a pseudo infinite baffle (i.e. a big wall) as this would test the response in a • Pelrine, R. and Kornbluh, R. (2008). Electromechanical Transduction Effects in Dielectric Elastomers: Actuation, Sensing,
typical setting for the speaker. Stiffness Modulation and Electric Energy Generation. In: F. Carpi, D. De Rossi, R. Kornbluh, R. Pelrine and P. Sommer-
Larsen, ed., Dielectric Elastomers as Electromechanical Transducers, 1st ed. Elsevier BV.
POTENTIAL ANSWER:
PID CONTROL
• PID Controller can be considered as
an extreme form of a phase lead-lag
compensator

G(s) • The aim of the compensator is to alter


the open loop transfer function of the
H(s) system G(s) to be G(s)H(s)

• ! " = $% + $' () + $* "


SIMULINK

Want to show llustrate the feasibility of


using PID control to tune the DE output
3 cases using 3 different sinusoidal
input voltages
MANUAL
TUNING
METHOD
CASE 1:
SUPERHARMONICS
• Applied closed loop PID control
• Eliminated super harmonics
• Output linear with input
CASE 2:
SUBHARMONICS
• This beating is caused by the input
voltage being close to the natural
frequency
• Subharmonics are removed
CASE 3: PHASE SHIFT

• Can make the output of the DE


meet the desired output in the
steady state
CONCLUSION

• Performance of DE’s have very similar performance to natural muscles so


active control of the response to the input is very important for further
development.
• This is yet to be proved in practice, but does provide a simulation tool for
active control applications