The application of an electric field to any material can displace charge and lead to field-induced elastic strain. If the sign of the strain is unchanged on reversal of the electric field, this property is termed electrostriction and it occurs in all materials whether crystalline or not. The term electrostrictive polymer is used in this study to describe the stress and strain response of a polymer subjected to an electric field. Electostriction is distinguished from piezoelectric behaviour in that the response is proportional to the square of the electric field rather than proportional to the field. The dielectric and mechanical properties of the polymer material determine the magnitude of the stress and strain response. In this study, thin films of dielectric polymers are considered with compliant electrodes. When a charge is placed on the electrodes the polymer film is compressed and its area is increased since the electrodes are compliant. It is assumed that the polymer is hyperelastic, consequently electrical energy is converted to strain energy of the polymer and a concept of compression efficiency is introduced. Thermal effects are neglected. Simple compression and plane strain compression of an incompressible polymer 1are considered in this study. The problems considered in this study have been considered in recent literature, however in this present study, the analysis is based on a more rational treatment of finite elastic deformation.
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