Compact, high-displacement piezoelectric actuator with potential micromechanical applications

William P. Robbins, Dennis L. Polla, Daniel E. Glumac

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


An actuator was developed that, in a macroscale version, is composed of a number of parallel bars of lead zirconate titanate (PZT) connected together in a meander line configuration so that they are mechanically in series and electrically in parallel. The polarity of the adjacent bars is arranged so that if a given bar expands under the applied voltage, the adjacent bars contract. Both ends of the meander line are clamped and the center of the meander line is the output where external loads are connected and where displacement relative to the clamped ends occurs. The absolute displacement of the output end of the meander line is the same as that of a single straight bar of the piezolelectric whose length is one half of that of the unwrapped meander line, assuming that the same voltage is applied to each structure. Experimental measurements are in agreement with the predictions of an electromechanical model of the actuator. The design and fabrication of a micromechanical version of the actuator is also described.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1191-1195
Number of pages5
JournalUltrasonics Symposium Proceedings
StatePublished - Dec 1 1990
EventProceedings of the IEEE 1990 Ultrasonics Symposium - Honolulu, HI, USA
Duration: Dec 4 1990Dec 7 1990


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