A vibration suppression technique for lightweight and flexible membrane structures is proposed using smart structure technology with a dielectric elastomer actuator (DEA). DEA, which is a lightweight flexible polynomial material with a large deformation and high response time, can easily be applied to membrane structures for vibration suppression over a wide frequency range. Herein, active vibration control for membrane structures with DEA is examined. A non-contact excitation system with a high-power Nd:YAG pulsed laser precisely measures the vibration responses of membrane structures. A laminated DEA is fabricated and attached to the membrane surface, generating a highly reproducible ideal impulse excitation. Then a digital control system is constructed with the laser excitation system. To demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method, vibration control experiments are conducted using a controller designed by H∞ control theory with the identified membrane model in both atmospheric and vacuum environments.
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