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20 December 2006 A ferrofluid seal technology for fluidic microactuators
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Recent research revealed that microactuators driven by pressurized fluids are able to generate high power and force densities at microscale. Despite these promising properties, fluidic actuators are rare in microsystem technology. The main technological barrier in the development of these actuators is the fabrication of powerful seals with low leakage. This paper presents a seal technology for linear fluidic microactuators based on ferrofluids. An accurate design method for these seals has been developed and validated by measurements on miniaturized actuator prototypes. Our current actuator prototypes are able to seal pressures up to 16 bar without leakage. The actuator has an outside diameter of 2 mm, a length of 13 mm and the actuator is able to generate forces of 0.65 N and a stroke of 10 mm. Moreover, promising properties such as the restoration of the seal after a pressure overload have been observed.
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M. De Volder and D. Reynaerts "A ferrofluid seal technology for fluidic microactuators", Proc. SPIE 6415, Micro- and Nanotechnology: Materials, Processes, Packaging, and Systems III, 64150X (20 December 2006);

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