Dielectric Motor Configurations and a Variable Speed Transmission Element Using Electroactive Polymers (EAPs)
Conventional electric motors and combustion engines are widely used in commerce but are not appropriate for all applications. Combustion engines explode fuel in chambers in which a directional element, such as a piston or rotor moves. Such engines dissipate a great deal of energy as heat, require massive engine blocks to withstand the explosions, are made of metals that have high reflectivity to radar, and require oxygen that may be in short supply at high altitudes. The oxygen requirement alone makes combustion engines unsuitable for some vehicles such as satellites and other spacecraft.
The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory has invented and is patenting lightweight, non-metallic, dielectric motors that can be scaled from very small to relatively large size. They contain no rotor or armature. Also invented was a new form of variable speed transmission that may have application in small, lower power machinery. These motors use electroactive polymers (EAPs) to convert from electrical to mechanical energy. When a voltage is applied to electrodes in contact with an EAP, the EAP deforms. An EAP sandwiched between stretchable electrodes deforms in two dimensions. In EAP motors, the deformation is leveraged to provide mechanical motion. The plastic motors save weight as compared to metal motors. The transfer from electrical energy to mechanical energy is quite efficient.
Patent Status: U.S. patent(s) 7,071,596 issued.CONTACT:
Mr. M. T. Hickman