Dielectric elastomer (DE), as a group of electro-active polymers, has been widely used in soft robotics due to its inherent flexibility and large induced deformation. As sustained high voltage is needed to maintain the deformation of DE, it may result in electric breakdown for a long-period actuation. Inspired by the bistable mechanism which has two stable equilibrium positions and can stay at one of them without energy consumption, two bistable dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs) including a translational actuator and a rotational actuator are proposed. Both the bistable actuators consist of a double conical DEA and a buckling beam and can switch between two stable positions with voltage. In this paper, the analytical models of the bulking beam and the conical DEA are presented first, and then the design method is demonstrated in terms of force equilibrium and moment equilibrium principle. The experiments of the translational bistable DEA and the rotational bistable DEA are conducted, which show that the design method of the bistable DEA is effective.

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