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The University of Southampton
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Research project: Optimal materials selection and design of MEMS actuators - Dormant - Dormant

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The selection of actuators at the micro-scale requires an understanding of the performance limits of different actuation mechanisms governed by the optimal selection of materials.  This work focuses on the performance of elastic bi-material actuators subjected to different actuation mechanisms.

Polymeric films on Si subjected to electro-thermal heating are optimal candidates for high displacement, low frequency devices while ferroelectric thin films of Pb-based ceramics on Si/DLC are optimal for high force, high frequency devices.  The ability to achieve 1- kHz at scales <100 microns make electro-thermal actuators competitive with piezoelectric actuators considering the low work/volume obtained in piezoelectric actuation.  Although Ni-Ti on Si deliver larger work at relatively low frequencies (1 kHz), there is a critical scale associated with the cessation of the shape memory effect.  The compressive stress developed in thin films of Si and DLC can be exploited for high performance electro-thermal buckling actuators.

Conferences and events associated with this project:

Performance of various materials
Performance of various materials
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