Electromechanical coupling in elastomers: a correlation between electrostatic potential and fatigue failure†
The recent discovery of electromechanical coupling in elastomers showed periodic electrification in phase with rubber stretching but following different electrostatic potential patterns. In this work, a Kelvin electrode monitored silicone and natural rubber electrification for extended periods until the rubber tubing underwent rupture. The electric potential of the rubber follows regular, quasi-sinusoidal patterns at the beginning and during the whole run, except when close to rubber fatigue failure, changing into complex waveforms. The attractors on natural latex and silicone rubber become chaotic at roughly 50 seconds before rubber rupture when the nearby orbits diverge wildly. Thus, mechanical-to-electrical transduction in rubber alerts fatigue failure nearly one minute ahead of the breakdown. Moreover, electrostatic potential maps of stretched rubbers show the electrification of the rupture sites, evidencing the electrostatic contribution to the breakdown. These results show the convenient features of electromechanical coupling in rubbers for the non-contact, real-time prediction of the rubber fatigue failure, adding to the possibility of environmental energy harvesting.
- This article is part of the themed collection: PCCP 2021 Emerging Investigators