This contribution examines the low frequency acoustic characteristics of dielectric elastomer (DE) acoustic actuators. Both flat panel and tubular actuator geometries are investigated experimentally and compared in terms of sound level and total harmonic distortion (THD) for the frequency range of interest, 20–200 Hz. A number of operating factors are examined to determine their influence on the performance of the actuators. These include the use of a D.C. voltage bias signal as part of the applied voltage, pre-straining of the actuator and the use of a variety of mechanical bias’s on the flat panel acoustic actuator. The results provide insight into the appropriateness of the actuators for possible use as a low frequency loudspeaker for either music generation or noise cancelation purposes.

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