Resonant frequency tuning of electroactive polymer membranes via an applied bias voltage

Lin Dong, Michael D. Grissom, Tahzib Safwat, M. G. Prasad, Frank T. Fisher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Vibration-based energy harvesting may hold tremendous impact for future applications of continuous machine and structural health monitoring. Here a novel resonant frequency tuning approach is proposed where the application of a bias voltage to a pre-stretched electroactive polymer (EAP) membrane results in changes in membrane tension which can be used to adjust the resonant frequency of the membrane. The effect of the bias voltage on the EAP membrane, which induces an electrostatic pressure and corresponding reduction in membrane thickness, is determined via an analytical model of the activation response of the EAP membrane, with the results confirmed using FEM simulation in ANSYS. Through a mass-loaded circular membrane vibration model, the effective resonant frequency of the membrane can be determined as a function of changes in membrane tension due to the applied bias voltage. In the case of an EAP membrane, pre-stretch contributes to the mechanical stiffness of the system while the applied bias voltage contributes to a change in electrical stiffness of the membrane. Experimental characterization of the EAP material VHB 4910 from 3 M verified the resonant frequencies corresponding to the bias voltages predicted from the appropriate models. Given an effective system stiffness range between 598 N m-1 (when λ = 1.5, U = 0) and 266 N m-1 (when λ = 5, U = 5000), the corresponding resonant frequency tuning range for a particular circular central loaded EAP membrane device is between 31.4 to 21.8 Hz. The proposed bias voltage tuning approach for the EAP membrane may provide a novel strategy to enable resonant frequency tuning of energy harvesting devices in particular application environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number114005
JournalSmart Materials and Structures
Issue number11
StatePublished - Sep 25 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • 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


  • bias voltage
  • electroactive polymer
  • energy harvesting
  • vibration frequency tuning


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