Sensors and actuators a-physical vol:123-24 pages:547-554
In order to improve the power density of microactuators, recent research focuses on the applicability of fluidic power at microscale. The main encountered difficulties in the development of small fluidic actuators are related to production tolerances and assembly requirements. Furthermore, these actuators tend to comprise highly three-dimensional parts, which are incompatible with traditional microproduction technologies. This paper presents accurate production and novel assembly techniques for the development of a hydraulic microactuator. In addition, a scalable low friction seal, relying on surface tension forces, is presented. A prototype piston-type microactuator with a bore of I mm and a length of 13 mm is developed. Using a gallium-based surface tension seal, pressures of more than 90 kpa have been sealed without leakage. (C) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.