5 May 2005 Miniature thin-film NiTi hydraulic actuator with MEMS microvalves
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The implementation of smaller, lighter, and more agile military systems requires new actuation technologies that offer high power density in compact form factors. The Compact Hybrid Actuator Program (CHAP) is pursuing active material based, rectifying actuators to create new actuation solutions for these demanding applications. Our actuator approach is based on thin film NiTi membranes operating in parallel (high intrinsic power density, >125 kW/kg) combined with liquid rectification, MEMS passive check valves, and commercially available power electronics. Previous results demonstrated 8 micron thick membrane actuation with 150 Hz forced convection response and force output of 100N. This paper focuses on two developments critical in scaling up previous single membrane results to power levels sufficient for military applications. This first is the development of SOI MEMS fabricated microvalve arrays which exhibit high flow rate at high frequencies. The second focus area is the design, fabrication, and assembly of a form factor compact actuator. The initial prototype demonstration of this concept shows great promise for thin film NiTi based actuation both in military technologies and in other areas which demand extremely compact actuation such as embedded fluid delivery for biomedical applications.
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Geoff McKnight, Leslie Momoda, Don Croft, Dong Gun Lee, Daniel Shin, Greg Carman, "Miniature thin-film NiTi hydraulic actuator with MEMS microvalves", Proc. SPIE 5762, Smart Structures and Materials 2005: Industrial and Commercial Applications of Smart Structures Technologies, (5 May 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.607307; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.607307

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