Journal of micromechanics and microengineering vol:15 issue:7 pages:S15-S21
In order to improve the power density of microactuators, recent research focuses on the applicability of fluidic actuation at the microscale. The main encountered difficulties in the development of small fluidic actuators are related to production tolerances and assembly requirements. In addition, 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. Some of the presented techniques are widespread in precision mechanics, but have not yet been introduced in micromechanics. A prototype hydraulic microactuator with a bore of 1 mm and a length of 13 mm has been fabricated and tested. Measurements showed that this actuator is able to generate a force density of more than 0.23 N mm(-2) and a work density of 0.18 mJ mm(-3) at a driving pressure of 550 kPa, which is remarkable considering the small dimensions of the actuator.