Dielectric elastomer actuators are an important branch of electroactive polymers with a host of applications proposed. However, the temperature range over which these elastomers are active has been limited by the glass transition temperature and thermal stability. Acrylic elastomers, VHB adhesive films from 3M Company, exhibit high actuation strain and stress at room temperature, but become too rigid to actuate below 0 °C. By lowering their glass transition temperature with the addition of a plasticizer, we show that the soft polymer actuators can be made to function at −40 °C. The plasticized films have been able to achieve >100% areal strain at −40°C. This helps extend the scope of dielectric elastomer actuators to demanding automotive applications.

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