We analyze small amplitude shear waves (SWs) propagating in dielectric elastomer (DE) laminates subjected to finite deformations and electrostatic excitations. First, we derive long wave estimates for phase and group velocities of the shear waves propagating in any direction in DE laminates subjected to any homogenous deformation in the presence of an electric filed. To this end, we utilize a micromechanics-based energy potential for layered media with incompressible phases described by neo-Hookean ideal DE model. The long wave estimates reveal the significant influence of electric field on the shear wave propagation. However, there exists a configuration, for which electric field does not influence shear waves directly, and can only alter the shear waves through deformation. We study this specific configuration in detail, and derive an exact solution for the steady-state small amplitude waves propagating in the direction perpendicular to the finitely deformed DE layers subjected to electrostatic excitation. In agreement with the long wave estimate, the exact dispersion relation and the corresponding shear wave band gaps (SBGs)—forbidden frequency regions—are not influenced by electric field. However, SBGs in DE laminates with highly nonlinear electroelastic phases still can be manipulated by electric field through electrostatically induced deformation. In particular, SBGs in DE laminates with electroelastic Gent phases widen and shift toward higher frequencies under application of an electric field perpendicular to the layers. However, in laminates with neo-Hookean ideal DE phases, SBGs are not influenced either by electric field or by deformation. This is due to the competing mechanisms of two governing factors: changes in geometry and material properties induced by deformation. In this particular case, these two competing factors entirely cancel each other.

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