What materials are used in HASEL Actuators?

Updated: May 7


HASEL actuators are made from three basic components: a flexible polymer film that forms a pouch, a dielectric liquid that fills the pouch, and flexible electrodes patterned on the outside of the pouch. Unlike other electrostatic actuator technologies, HASEL actuators have incredible versatility in the materials that can be used in their construction. These materials can be tailored for optimizing actuator performance for specific applications. HASEL materials are environmentally friendly and very low-cost.


Polymer films for actuator pouches:

The mechanical structure of the actuator consists of soft and deformable pouches made from thin polymer films. These films have the dual advantage of having both excellent mechanical and electrical properties. The mechanical properties are due to their use in the packing industry, and the electrical properties are due to their use in the film capacitor industry. In addition, the widespread availability of these films makes them very inexpensive.


Electrodes:

A key advantage of HASEL actuators lies in the fact that they do not require stretchable materials in their construction, despite being very compliant. This greatly expands the available materials and processes that can be used for HASEL electrodes. Typical electrode materials are ultrathin layers of flexible electrical conductors. These materials often borrow from the burgeoning industry of flexible electronics and can be deposited in precise configurations using a number of commercial methods. Since electrode geometry determines the function of a HASEL actuator, the ability to create precisely defined electrode patterns is crucial for actuator customization.


Liquid dielectric:

The liquid dielectric used in HASEL actuators can vary widely in properties to get a specific actuator response. For example, the viscosity of the fluid can be tuned to increase actuator response speed or to include passive vibration damping. Typical liquid dielectrics include transformer oils, but can also be as simple as consumer vegetable oils. Our most widely used liquid dielectric is currently a vegetable-based transformer oil that is biodegradable yet has excellent dielectric properties.


Artimus Robotics is continuously developing actuator materials for specific performance capabilities - please reach out to us at info@artimusrobotics.com to check on the HASEL capabilities for your specific application.


Click here for information on material safety considerations in HASEL actuators.


About Artimus Robotics

Artimus Robotics designs and manufactures soft electric actuators. The technology was inspired by nature (muscles) and spun out of the University of Colorado. HASEL (Hydraulically Amplified Self-healing ELectrostatic) actuator technology operates when electrostatic forces are applied to a flexible polymer pouch and dielectric liquid to drive shape change in a soft structure. These principles can be applied to achieve a contracting motion, expanding motion, or other complex deformations. For more information, please visit Artimus Robotics or contact info@artimusrobotics.com.


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