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Researcher crafts rotary-linear piezoelectric actuator

Posted: 30 Mar 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:actuator? piezoelectric? microactuator?

Tomoaki Mashimo of the Electronics-Inspired Interdisciplinary Research Institute (EIIRIS) at Toyohashi University of Technology has created a miniature rotary-linear piezoelectric actuator that has single cubic stator with a side length of just 3.5mm, capable of generating both rotary motion around its central axis and linear motion in the axial direction.

Tomoaki Mashimo

Tomoaki Mashimo has created a miniature rotary-linear piezoelectric actuator.

While microactuators are deemed critical components in industrial applications such as MEMS, micro-medical devices, and microrobotics, the fabrication process for increasingly sophisticated, millimeter-sized devices is extremely complicated.

Mashimo's innovative microactuator consists of a single metallic cube with a side length of 3.5mm, a 2.5mm-diameter through-hole, and four piezoelectric elements bonded to the sides of the stator. The simple design allowed for the creation of the compact actuator that does not require any special manufacturing procedures.

The resultant rotary and linear velocities obtained were approximately 24 rad/s and 80mm/s, when the applied voltage was 42V RMS at each resonant frequency. The maximum torque and thrust force were 2.5?Nm and 2.6mN, respectively.

"We foresee micro-robotic and medical applications using the rotary-linear piezoelectric microactuator," said Mashimo, who believes that further miniaturization and performance improvements are possible. "The microactuator simple design lends itself to many other applications as well," he added.

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