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Micromachines 2010, 1(3), 129-152; doi:10.3390/microm1030129

A Novel Piezo-Actuator-Sensor Micromachine for Mechanical Characterization of Micro-Specimens

Mechanical Engineering Department, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487, USA
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 12 October 2010 / Revised: 24 November 2010 / Accepted: 28 November 2010 / Published: 14 December 2010
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Difficulties associated with testing and characterization of materials at microscale demands for new technologies and devices that are capable of measuring forces and strains at microscale. To address this issue, a novel electroactive-based micro-electro-mechanical machine is designed. The micromachine is comprised of two electroactive (piezoelectric) micro-elements mounted on a rigid frame. Electrical activation of one of the elements causes it to expand and induce a stress in the intervening micro-specimen. The response of the microspecimen to the stress is measured by the deformation and thereby voltage/resistance induced in the second electro-active element. The concept is theoretically proven using analytical modeling in conjunction with non-linear, three dimensional finite element analyses for the micromachine. Correlation of the output voltage to the specimen stiffness is shown. It is also demonstrated through finite element and analytical analysis that this technique is capable of detecting non-linear behavior of materials. A characteristic curve for an isotropic specimen exhibiting linear elastic behavior is developed. Application of the proposed device in measuring coefficient of thermal expansion is explored and analytical analysis is conducted.
Keywords: strain; electroactive; piezoelectric; smart materials; actuator; sensor strain; electroactive; piezoelectric; smart materials; actuator; sensor
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Ladani, L.; Nelson, S. A Novel Piezo-Actuator-Sensor Micromachine for Mechanical Characterization of Micro-Specimens. Micromachines 2010, 1, 129-152.

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