17 May 2013 Highly sensitive thermal actuators for temperature sensing
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Abstract
A thermal actuator based on two symmetrical V-shaped beam stacks (also called chevron-type) is presented. Each beam stack consists of 6 beams in parallel. The stacks are coupled facing each other and are slightly shifted along the mirror axis. Both stacks are connected to a lever beam. Due to the thermal expansion of the material, the tip of the lever moves up and downwards perpendicular to the mirror axis. The device is built up of galvanic deposited nickel. Finite element simulations were carried out for design considerations prior to the manufacturing of the device. The simulations were used to optimize the design regarding to the sensitivity and the maximum mechanical stress to be expected. The stress level needs to be lower than the yield strength of the material, to prevent plastic deformation and, therefore, irreversible tip defections. This also limits the overall sensitivity of the design. First results of the device with 400 µm long bent beams show a linear behavior and a sensitivity of 0.5 μm/K and expectable forces of 66 μN/K in a temperature range of -30°C up to +40°C.
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H. Steiner, H. Steiner, W. Hortschitz, W. Hortschitz, M. Stifter, M. Stifter, F. Keplinger, F. Keplinger, T. Sauter, T. Sauter, "Highly sensitive thermal actuators for temperature sensing", Proc. SPIE 8763, Smart Sensors, Actuators, and MEMS VI, 87630T (17 May 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2016828; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2016828
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