A planar unimorph-based actuator with large vertical displacement capability. Part I: Experiment

Daniel E. Glumac, William P. Robbins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


A piezoelectric actuator utilizing a planar arrangement of unimorph elements that produces displacements perpendicular to the plane of the actuator is described. The elements are connected in series mechanically so that the vertical displacement of each element adds to the vertical displacements of the other elements. Two prototype actuators were built and tested. One was stick-built from individual bars of PZT and aluminum, which were epoxied together and connected to each other with short aluminum connector bars. The other was fabricated monolithieally from a single plate of PZT by bead-blasting the PZT plate through a steel shadowmask to mill out the desired actuator shape. Copper bars epoxied to the milled-out PZT bars then formed the unimorph elements. The unloaded output displacement uf each actuator versus applied voltage was measured as well as the displacement versus applied force with no applied voltage. These measurements were in agreement with the predictions of an electromechanical model of the actuator that has been developed. The model predicted and measurements verified that stiffeners can be added to the basic geometry that will significantly increase the force output without affecting the displacement versus applied voltage characteristic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1145-1150
Number of pages6
JournalIEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1 1998

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