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Piezoelectric bending actuators are an attractive option for driving microrobots due to their light weight, scalability, ease of integration and high bandwidth. However, the only existing energy or power output measurements for piezoelectric bending actuators have been extrapolated from DC values or unloaded AC values and are most likely overestimates. For microrobot applications such as flapping flight, accurate measures of power density are critical. In this work, to properly measure the energy output of a lOmg piezoelectric actuator, a custom dynamometer is designed and constructed to directly measure the power output at various frequencies and conditions. The dynamometer can simulate a pure resistive load at resonant frequencies from 1 to 100Hz. Due to low internal damping and fracture limits, actuators cannot be run in the matched condition at high fields (> 1 V/mum). Using the device, energy output per cycle at 1.6 V/mum was measured to be a maximum of 19.1 muJ/cycle (232 mum amplitude, 30Hz), giving a delivered energy density per cycle of 1.89J/kg. Internal actuator damping was measured at 1 V/mum to account for an energy loss of only 0.21muJ per cycle (232 mum amplitude, 30Hz).
Date of Conference: Oct. 29 2007-Nov. 2 2007