Active materials are materials that can be actuated by an external stimuli. For example, a change of temperature or an applied electrical signal will cause the material to deform or generate a force. Active materials play an important role for microsensors and -actuators. Therefore, a quantitative understanding of their actuation range, actuation force, response time, repeatability, hysteresis, or lifetime is important.
Application Example: Electroactive Polymer Actuator Testing
The electro-mechanical performance of electroactive polymer (EAP) microactuators is characterized using the FT-MTA03 Micromechanical Testing and Assembly System. For this purpose, the beam-shaped microactuators are clamped between two electrodes between which the actuation voltage is applied to drive the microactuator.For the quantification of the actuation range, the sensor is brought into contact with the end of the EAP beam using the find “contact function”. This is repeated for voltages from 0V to 2V. From the resulting data, the contact point can be plotted as a function of the applied actuation voltage.The force that is generated by the EAP microactuator is of great interest for the performance evaluation and optimization of the device design and material. The force output of a pre-loaded microactuator is therefore measured while applying a cyclic actuation voltage. From this data, both the static and dynamic behavior of the EAP microactuator can be determined.