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Title: Microelectromechanical (MEM) thermal actuator

Abstract

Microelectromechanical (MEM) buckling beam thermal actuators are disclosed wherein the buckling direction of a beam is constrained to a desired direction of actuation, which can be in-plane or out-of-plane with respect to a support substrate. The actuators comprise as-fabricated, linear beams of uniform cross section supported above the substrate by supports which rigidly attach a beam to the substrate. The beams can be heated by methods including the passage of an electrical current through them. The buckling direction of an initially straight beam upon heating and expansion is controlled by incorporating one or more directional constraints attached to the substrate and proximal to the mid-point of the beam. In the event that the beam initially buckles in an undesired direction, deformation of the beam induced by contact with a directional constraint generates an opposing force to re-direct the buckling beam into the desired direction. The displacement and force generated by the movement of the buckling beam can be harnessed to perform useful work, such as closing contacts in an electrical switch.

Inventors:
 [1];  [2]
  1. Albuquerque, NM
  2. Sandia Park, NM
Issue Date:
Research Org.:
Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), Albuquerque, NM, and Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1058896
Patent Number(s):
8232858
Application Number:
12/033,995
Assignee:
Sandia Corporation (Albuquerque, NM)
Patent Classifications (CPCs):
H - ELECTRICITY H01 - BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS H01H - ELECTRIC SWITCHES
H - ELECTRICITY H02 - GENERATION H02N - ELECTRIC MACHINES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
DOE Contract Number:  
AC04-94AL85000
Resource Type:
Patent
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
47 OTHER INSTRUMENTATION

Citation Formats

Garcia, Ernest J, and Fulcher, Clay W. G. Microelectromechanical (MEM) thermal actuator. United States: N. p., 2012. Web.
Garcia, Ernest J, & Fulcher, Clay W. G. Microelectromechanical (MEM) thermal actuator. United States.
Garcia, Ernest J, and Fulcher, Clay W. G. Tue . "Microelectromechanical (MEM) thermal actuator". United States. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1058896.
@article{osti_1058896,
title = {Microelectromechanical (MEM) thermal actuator},
author = {Garcia, Ernest J and Fulcher, Clay W. G.},
abstractNote = {Microelectromechanical (MEM) buckling beam thermal actuators are disclosed wherein the buckling direction of a beam is constrained to a desired direction of actuation, which can be in-plane or out-of-plane with respect to a support substrate. The actuators comprise as-fabricated, linear beams of uniform cross section supported above the substrate by supports which rigidly attach a beam to the substrate. The beams can be heated by methods including the passage of an electrical current through them. The buckling direction of an initially straight beam upon heating and expansion is controlled by incorporating one or more directional constraints attached to the substrate and proximal to the mid-point of the beam. In the event that the beam initially buckles in an undesired direction, deformation of the beam induced by contact with a directional constraint generates an opposing force to re-direct the buckling beam into the desired direction. The displacement and force generated by the movement of the buckling beam can be harnessed to perform useful work, such as closing contacts in an electrical switch.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2012},
month = {7}
}

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Works referenced in this record:

Applications for surface-micromachined polysilicon thermal actuators and arrays
journal, January 1997


Vertically driven microactuators by electrothermal buckling effects
journal, November 1998


An in-plane, bi-directional electrothermal MEMS actuator
journal, August 2006


Self-buckling of micromachined beams under resistive heating
journal, March 2000


A reliable single-layer out-of-plane micromachined thermal actuator
journal, January 2003


Bi-directional electrothermal electromagnetic actuators
journal, April 2007