Electrostrictive material is one of the key smart materials, with tremendous potentials in many engineering applications, e.g., sonar, actuators, artificial muscles, etc. The (direct) electrostrictive effect of electrostrictive materials is a quadratic dependence of stress or strain on applied electric field and this nonlinear electromechanical effect contributes significant actuation performance as compared with that of conventional piezoelectric materials. A generic electrostrictive thin shell theory and its dynamic electro-mechanical system equations are derived based on a generic double-curvature thin shell defined in the paraelectric phase. Generic mathematical models and permissible boundary conditions of electrostrictive thin shells are defined based on Hamilton’s principle, elasticity theory, Kirchhoff-Love thin shell theory and Gibbs elastic free energy function. Electro-mechanical behaviors and dynamic characteristics of electrostrictive shells are evaluated. Simplifications of the generic electrostrictive shell theory to other common geometries are demonstrated, electrostrictive/dynamic coupling equations derived, and their electromechanical characteristics discussed.

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