Numerical simulation and experimental validation of the large deformation bending and folding behavior of magneto-active elastomer composites

Robert Sheridan, Juan Roche, Samuel E. Lofland, Paris R. Vonlockette

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


This work seeks to provide a framework for the numerical simulation of magneto-active elastomer (MAE) composite structures for use in origami engineering applications. The emerging field of origami engineering employs folding techniques, an array of crease patterns traditionally on a single flat sheet of paper, to produce structures and devices that perform useful engineering operations. Effective means of numerical simulation offer an efficient way to optimize the crease patterns while coupling to the performance and behavior of the active material. The MAE materials used herein are comprised of nominally 30% v/v, 325 mesh barium hexafarrite particles embedded in Dow HS II silicone elastomer compound. These particulate composites are cured in a magnetic field to produce magneto-elastic solids with anisotropic magnetization, e.g. they have a preferred magnetic axis parallel to the curing axis. The deformed shape and/or blocked force characteristics of these MAEs are examined in three geometries: a monolithic cantilever as well as two- and four-segment composite accordion structures. In the accordion structures, patches of MAE material are bonded to a Gelest OE41 unfilled silicone elastomer substrate. Two methods of simulation, one using the Maxwell stress tensor applied as a traction boundary condition and another employing a minimum energy kinematic (MEK) model, are investigated. Both methods capture actuation due to magnetic torque mechanisms that dominate MAE behavior. Comparison with experimental data show good agreement with only a single adjustable parameter, either an effective constant magnetization of the MAE material in the finite element models (at small and moderate deformations) or an effective modulus in the minimum energy model. The four-segment finite element model was prone to numerical locking at large deformation. The effective magnetization and modulus values required are a fraction of the actual experimentally measured values which suggests a reduction in the amount of magnetic torque transferred from the particles to the matrix.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number094004
JournalSmart Materials and Structures
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Signal Processing
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Numerical simulation and experimental validation of the large deformation bending and folding behavior of magneto-active elastomer composites'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this