Energy harvesting with dielectric elastomers

FWF Project number: P 22912-N20


Petr Bartu
Martin Egginger
Richard Moser
Roland Altmüller
Daniela Peter
Robert Pichler
Christian Siket
Andreas Tröls
Thomas Stockinger
Wolfgang Haderer
Günther Schwabegger
Siegfried Bauer



Elastomers, in everyday language rubber, show significant potential in high technology applications. Elastomers may be used in future for the conversion of the mechanical energy of water waves into electrical energy. Elastomers are used as mechanically deformable capacitors, able to convert mechanical into electrical energy in a cycle, similar to the Carnot cycle in thermodynamics. The potential of the proposed technology is huge, the worldwide electricity generation may be met by converting the mechanical energy of water waves into electrical energy.


The work in the project helped breaking new scientific ground in the dielectri elastomer field and in stretchable electronics. Noteworthy is a review for the 25 anniversary of Advanced Materials, where results obtained in this FWF project has been highlighted by our team. The paper is also listed as highly cited in ISI Web o Knowledge.



Our research is multidisciplinary, combining mechanical and electrical engineetring with applied physics. Our research work contributes to the development of these three distinct research areas. We follow a philosophy of publishing which may best be described by “less is more”, and we believe that this approach has been successful in the project with a total number of 13 papers having received more than 600 citations in Google Scholar..


During the course of the project several master, PhD students and postdocs worked on specific aspects of the project. The students started working in the project as master students, and continued to work as a PhD student or as a postdoc.


Within this project, 13 publications appeared in peer-reviewed journals. The total number of citations for these papers is 629 on Google Scholar (checked on April 25, 2016), resulting in an average number of 48 citations per paper. On ISI Web of Knowledge, 4 of the published papers are listed as highly cited [1,6,9,10].

[1]    S. J. A. Koh, C. Keplinger, T. Li, S. Bauer, and Z. Suo, Dielectric elastomer generators How much energy can be harvested, IEEE/ASME Trans. Mechatron. Vol. 16, pp. 33-41 (2011). Google Scholar citations: 154

[2]  R. Kaltseis, C. Keplinger, R. Baumgartner, M. Kaltenbrunner, T. Li, P. Mächler, R. Schwödiauer, Z. Suo, and S. Bauer, Method for measuring energy generation and efficiency of dielectric elastomer generators, Appl. Phys. Lett. Vol. 99, 162904 (2011). Google Scholar citations: 73

[3]    Q. Zhao, A. Haines, D. Snoswell, C. Keplinger, R. Denk, R. Kaltseis, I. Graz, S. Bauer, P. Spahn, G. Hellmann, and J. Baumberg, Electric-field-tuned color in photonic crystal elastomers, Appl. Phys. Lett. Vol. 100, 101902 (2012). Google Scholar citations: 16

[4]   C. C. Foo, S. Cai, S. J. A. Koh, S. Bauer, and Z. Suo, Model of dissipative dielectric elastomers, J. Appl. Phys. Vol. 111, 034102 (2012). Google Scholar citations: 74

[5]    C. C. Foo, S. J. A. Koh, C. Keplinger, R. Kaltseis, S. Bauer, and Z. Suo, Performance of dissipative dielectric elastomer generators, J. Appl. Phys. Vol. 111, 094107 (2012). Google Scholar citations: 39

[6]   T. Li, C. Keplinger, R. Baumgartner, S. Bauer, W. Yang, and Z. Suo, Giant voltage-induced deformation in dielectric elastomers near the verge of snap-through instability, JMPS Vol. 61, 611-628 (2013). Google Scholar citations: 72

[7]    G. Kettlgruber, M. Kaltenbrunner, C. Siket, R. Moser, I. Graz, R. Schwödiauer, and S. Bauer, Intrinsically stretchable and rechargeable batteries for self-powered stretchable electronics, J. Mater. Chem. A Vol. 1, 5505-5508 (2013). Google Scholar citations: 35

[8]    A. Tröls, A. Kogler, R. Baumgartner, R. Kaltseis, C. Keplinger, R. Schwödiauer, I. Graz, and S. Bauer, Stretch dependence of the electrical breakdown strength and dielectric constant of dielectric elastomers, Smart Materials & Structures Vol. 22, 104012 (2013). Google Scholar citations: 33

[9] S. Bauer, S. Bauer-Gogonea, I. Graz, M. Kaltenbrunner, C. Keplinger, and R. Schwödiauer, A soft future: From robots and sensor skin to energy harvesters, Adv. Mater. Vol. 26, 149-162 (2014). Google Scholar citations: 103

[10]  M. Drack, I. Graz, T. Sekitani, T. Someya, M. Kaltenbrunner, and S. Bauer, An imperceptible plastic electronic wrap, Adv. Mater. Vol. 27, 34-40 (2015). Google Scholar citations: 27

[11]   S. E. Schausberger, R. Kaltseis, M. Drack, U. D. Cakmak, Z. Major, and S. Bauer, Cost-efficient open source desktop size radial stretching system with force sensor, IEEE Access Vol. 3, 556- (2015). Google Scholar citations: 3

[12] D. Peter, R. Pichler, S. Bauer, and R. Schwödiauer, Electrostatic converter with an electret-like elastomer membrane for large scale energy harvesting of low density energy sources, Extreme Mechanics Letters Vol. 4, 38-44 (2015). Google Scholar citations: 0

[13]  R. Moser, G. Kettlgruber, C. M. Siket, M. Drack, I. M. Graz, U. Cakmak, Z. Major, M. Kaltenbrunner, and S. Bauer, From playroom to lab: Tough stretchable electronics analyzed with a tabletop tensile tester made from toy-bricks, Adv. Science Vol. 3,1500396 (2016). Google Scholar citations: 0

Project leader: Siegfried Bauer

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