Abstract

Dielectric elastomers (DEs) is one of the promising artificial muscle for soft robots and flexible devices. As one of the key issues for practical applications, the control of DE actuators remains challenging due to the large actuation, electromechanical coupling, and viscoelastic dissipation. Feedforward control and proportional integral derivative (PID) feedback control are recently studied for the control of DE actuators. The control performance is still limited due to the complex dynamic behavior of DE actuators with both nonlinearities and modeling uncertainties. This paper proposes a model-based feedback control for DE actuator, considering nonlinearity of large deformation, electromechanical coupling, and the modeling uncertainties. A nonlinear motion model is proposed and verified by parameter identification experiments. Based on the nonlinear model, we demonstrate a robust control strategy including nonlinear model compensation and robust feedback to decrease the tracking error. The experimental results verify that the control strategy possesses excellent validity to the DE actuator with improved performance compared to the previous strategy of feedforward and PID feedback control. The system design and control strategy of this paper may guide the future design and application of DE actuators, soft robots, and flexible devices.

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