Matthias studied Physics at the University of Potsdam in Germany. After graduation, he continued his research in the field of Applied Physics and focused on dielectric failure and voltage induced mechanic instability phenomena of elastomers and Dielectric Elastomer Actuators (DEAs), soft voltage-controlled capacitors also known as “artificial muscles”. He worked on strategies for high permittivity elastomer composites, conductive elastomers and merged DEAs and polymer optics for monolithic voltage-controlled polymer optics and organic lasers. His interdisciplinary collaboration transferred material enhancement strategies and employed soft capacitors as sensors for Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) to enable a so-called sensing skin. This skin might allow the in-time characterization of large-scale civil structures and enhance their safety.
His research in the Clarke group aims for the enhanced understanding and control of strain and voltage induced effects resulting in the cumulative failure phenomena. This research will allow more resilient elastomers, DEAs and elastomer sensors. New materials and processing methods, among them 3D printing, might help to access and study these processes on the micro- up to the macroscale under low and high electric field using fundamental physical principles and statistics.
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