A new design of dielectric elastomer membrane resonator with tunable resonant frequencies and mode shapes

Yunlong Li, Inkyu Oh, Jiehao Chen, Yuhang Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Conventional membrane resonators are bulky, and once the geometries and materials are fixed in the fabricated device, the resonators' characteristics are fixed. In this work, we introduce the active membrane, dielectric elastomer (DE), into the resonator design. Attaching a stiffer passive membrane onto the active DE membrane forms a two-layer system, which generates an out-of-plane deformation when the DE is actuated through a DC voltage applied across the thickness of the DE membrane. When an AC voltage is applied, the two-layer system can generate an out-of-plane oscillation which enables its use as membrane resonators. Both experiments and simulations are carried out to study the dynamic characteristics of the system. The resonant frequencies and mode shapes of the resonator can be tuned through the passive layer properties such as the modulus, thickness, density, and size. The effective stiffness of the DE film changes as the magnitude of the voltage applied on the film changes, which provides an active way to tune the dynamic characteristics of the two-layer resonator even after the device is set. The system is also light weight, low cost, and easy to fabricate, and has great potential in many engineering applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number065029
JournalSmart Materials and Structures
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 16 2018


  • dielectric elastomer
  • electromechanical coupling
  • mode shape tailoring
  • soft active material
  • tunable resonator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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