UMD engineers create tiny, robust rubber micro-component.

UMD engineers create tiny, robust rubber micro-component.

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 Research Transition to Phase 1: Limited Presence

Maryland-led, Multi-institutional Research Team Receives $10M to Transform Shellfish Farming with Smart Technology

Safety Practices and Requirements for Working on Campus

UMD, UMMS Researchers to Develop More Precise COVID-19 Models

Real-time Transportation Data Can Improve Triage, Save Lives

A Message from the VP for Research: Preparing to Reopen On-Campus Research

Pines, UMD Engineers Help Prince George’s County Reopening Efforts

Virtual Town Hall Highlights Preparation for Phased Relaunch of Campus Research Activities

News Resources

Return to Newsroom

Search News

Archived News

Events Resources

Events Calendar

Additional Resources

UM Newsdesk

Faculty Experts

Connect

social iconstwitterlinkedinrssYouTube
Division of Research
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742-1541
© Copyright 2017 University of Maryland

Did You Know

UMD's entrepreneurship education programs are ranked among the best in the U.S. by Princeton Review & Entrepreneur Magazine.