Dielectric elastomers (DEs) are widely used in soft transducers with mechanical or electrical loads. DE devices are mainly used for applications under dynamic loads, such as, ocean wave generators, loudspeakers, oscillators, and artificial muscles. It is still a challenge to analytically solve the vibration equation of a DE transducer. For example, for a DE membrane undergoing stretching deformation that is studied in this paper, its vibration equation is highly nonlinear with high-order and fractional-order polynomials. Numerical integration (NI) methods or traditional harmonic balance (HB) methods were used in previous works, but the two methods have low efficiency for strong and complex nonlinearities, and it is difficult to improve the accuracy of the solution. In this work, a free-energy model is used to study the dynamic characteristics of a DE membrane undergoing in-plane deformation, which undergoes a combined load excited by mechanical compression and electric fields. To improve the calculation efficiency and accuracy, we employ a modified incremental harmonic balance (IHB) method based on the fast Fourier transform to solve the periodically-excited nonlinear dynamic equation of the DE membrane. Finally, results of the example verify that the modified IHB method is fast and accurate, and has a very good performance in solving a problem with high nonlinearities.

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