UMD engineers create tiny, robust rubber micro-component.

UMD engineers create tiny, robust rubber micro-component.

Bookmark and Share



Small, efficient and robust microdevice component sips very little energy

University of Maryland scientists have created a rubber actuator that is less than a millimeter long.

Mechanical engineers Sarah Bergbreiter, Aaron Gerratt, Bavani Balakrisnan and Ivan Penskiy used an inventive micro-molding process, in which a rubber mixed with conducting nanoparticles is poured into trenches etched in a silicon wafer. When finished, the component for microdevices is 1 mm long and about the width of a human hair --- just 100 microns wide. It has three layers that conduct electricity and as different voltages are applied, the lever can move in different directions.

The new device can bend up and down, sometimes as far as one third its length. The actuator is also incredibly robust because the material it is made of is both elastic and slightly squishy. The engineers' other advance is that the device only sips energy: the voltage needed is significantly less than other actuators of this type, and only 10 µW of power is needed to drive the device.

The research was published in the journal Smart Materials and Structures in March 2013.

Dielectric elastomer actuators fabricated using a micro-molding process

Aaron P Gerratt, Bavani Balakrisnan, Ivan Penskiy, Sarah Bergbreiter

Smart Materials and Structures, 2014-03, 23 (5), pp.055004

doi: 10.1088/0964-1726/23/5/055004

September 25, 2014


Prev   Next

Current Headlines

University of Maryland Launches Quantum Technology Center

UMD Transplant Organ Flight Named Invention of the Year

$2.8M NIH Grant to Further Dementia Research

START Report: Global Terrorism Fell in 2018

UMD Researchers Discover New Mechanism in Liver that Helps Prevent Infections

UMD Professor Studies Health Impacts of Transportation

Envisioning the Future of Urban Transportation

UMD Prevention Research Center to Focus on LGBTQ Mental Health with new $3.75M from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

News Resources

Return to Newsroom

Search News

Archived News

Events Resources

Events Calendar

Additional Resources

UM Newsdesk

Faculty Experts

Connect

social iconsFacebookTwitterLinkedInResearch News RSS Feed
Office of Technology Commercialization
2130 Mitchell Building
7999 Regents Dr.
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742

Phone: 301-405-3947  |  Fax: 301-314-9502
Email: umdtechtransfer@umd.edu

© Copyright 2013 University of Maryland

Did You Know

UMD's Neutral Buoyancy Research Facility, which simulates weightlessness, is one of only two such facilities in the U.S.