This paper presents a dynamic electromechanical model for an actuator system based on a Dielectric Electro-Active Polymer (DEAP) membrane biased with a linear spring. The motion is generated by the deformation of the membrane caused by the electrostatic compressive force between two compliant electrodes applied on the surface of the polymer. A mass and a linear spring are used to pre-load the membrane, allowing stroke in the out-of-plane direction. The development of mathematical models which accurately describe the nonlinear system dynamics is a fundamental step in order to design model-based, high-precision position control algorithms. In particular, knowledge of the nonlinear electrical dynamics of the actuator driving circuit can be exploited during the control system design in order to achieve desirable features, such as self-sensing or control energy minimization. This work proposes an electromechanical physical model of the DEAP actuator system. By means of numerous experiments, it is shown that the model can be used to predict the current by measuring deformation and voltage (electrical dynamics), as well as predicting deformation and current by measuring the voltage (electromechanical dynamics).

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