Fabrication and Testing of a Novel MEMS Rotational Thermal Actuator

Report No. ARL-TR-4315
Authors: Danny Gee and Luke Currano
Date/Pages: November 2007; 22 pages
Abstract: The fabrication and testing of a micromachined thermal rotational actuator are presented in this report. The actuator is designed to realize the high forces and large displacements that are difficult to achieve with microelectromechanical system actuators. The device uses asymmetry to produce a desired rotational deflection, making it well suited for rotary engines or biologically inspired joint movement. The focus of the project was to compare measured and theoretical values of spring constants of the devices, since spring constant relates force and displacement. These measurements both characterize actuator performance for comparisons with other actuators and provide a basis for optimal design of this type of actuator for any given application. An early test of the rotational actuators showed a displacement of 12.7 µm with 637 milliNewtons (mN) of force requiring 250 mW of power.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: November 1, 2007