A novel piezo-actuator-sensor micromachine for mechanical characterization of micro-specimens

Leila Ladani, Steven Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Difficulties associated with testing and characterization of materials at microscale demands for new technologies and devices that are capable of measuring forces and strains at microscale. To address this issue, a novel electroactive-based micro-electro-mechanical machine is designed. The micromachine is comprised of two electroactive (piezoelectric) micro-elements mounted on a rigid frame. Electrical activation of one of the elements causes it to expand and induce a stress in the intervening micro-specimen. The response of the microspecimen to the stress is measured by the deformation and thereby voltage/resistance induced in the second electro-active element. The concept is theoretically proven using analytical modeling in conjunction with non-linear, three dimensional finite element analyses for the micromachine. Correlation of the output voltage to the specimen stiffness is shown. It is also demonstrated through finite element and analytical analysis that this technique is capable of detecting non-linear behavior of materials. A characteristic curve for an isotropic specimen exhibiting linear elastic behavior is developed. Application of the proposed device in measuring coefficient of thermal expansion is explored and analytical analysis is conducted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-152
Number of pages24
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Actuator
  • Electroactive
  • Piezoelectric
  • Sensor
  • Smart materials
  • Strain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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