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Modeling and Analysis of a Phase Change Material Thermohydraulic Membrane Microactuator

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4 Author(s)
Malik, A. ; R. Inst. of Technol. (KTH), Stockholm, Sweden ; Ogden, S. ; Amberg, G. ; Hjort, K.

Presented in this paper is a finite-element-method-based model for phase change material actuators, modeling the active material as a fluid as opposed to a solid. This enables the model to better conform to localized loads and offering the opportunity to follow material movement in enclosed volumes. Modeling, simulation, and analysis of an electrothermally activated paraffin microactuator have been conducted. The paraffin microactuator used for the analysis in this study exploits the large volumetric expansion of paraffin upon melting, which, combined with its low compressibility in the liquid state, allows for high hydraulic pressures to be generated. The purpose of this study is to supply a geometry-independent model of such a microactuator through the implementation of a fluid model rather than a solid one, which has been utilized in previous studies. Numerical simulations are conducted at different frequencies of the heating source and for different geometries of the microactuator. The results are compared with the empirical data obtained on a close to identical paraffin microactuator, which clearly show the advantages of a fluid model instead of a solid-state approximation.

Published in:

Microelectromechanical Systems, Journal of  (Volume:22 ,  Issue: 1 )