Date of Award


Access Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering

Committee Chair

Eduardo Divo, Ph.D.

First Committee Member

Daewon Kim, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Jean-Michel Dhainaut, Ph.D.

Third Committee Member

Heidi Steinhauer, Ph.D.

Fourth Committee Member

Victor Huayamave, Ph.D.


There have been significant developments in the field of robotics. Significant development consists of new configurations, control mechanisms, and actuators based upon its applications. Despite significant improvements in modern robotics, the biologically inspired robots has taken the center stage. Inspired by nature, biologically inspired robots are called ‘soft robots’. Within these robots lies a secret ingredient: the actuator. Soft robotic development has been driven by the idea of developing actuators that are like human muscle and are known as ‘artificial muscle’. Among different materials suitable for the development of artificial muscle, the dielectric elastomer actuator (DEA) is capable of large deformation by applying an electric field. Theoretical formulation for DEA was performed based upon the constitutive hyperelastic models and was validated by using finite element method (FEM) using ABAQUS. For FEM, multistep analysis was performed to apply pre-stretch to the membrane before applying actuation voltage. Based on the validation of DEA, different configurations of DEA were investigated. Helical dielectric elastomer actuator and origami dielectric elastomer actuator were investigated using theoretical modeling. Comparisons were made with FEM to validate the model. This study focus on the theoretical and FEM analysis of strain within the different configuration of DEA and how the actuation strain of the dielectric elastomer can be translated into contraction and/or bending of the actuator.