Posted: February 2, 2010

New generation of piezoelectric actuators being developed

(Nanowerk News) The development of a new generation of actuators has undergone tremendous progress. Cheaper piezo actuators resisting humidity, having fewer cracks and an extended lifetime may well become reality thanks to a close cooperation across borders between researchers, manufacturers and end-users.
HIPER-Act (HIgh PERformance ACTuators)
HIPER-Act is a four-year research and development project co-funded by FP7 and the project participants. The consortium of European partners will develop more resistant and cheaper piezoelectric actuators. The actuators will have a broad range of industrial utilization within e.g. noise and vibration damping for wind mill turbines, control systems in automobiles, wire bonding and active wheel suspension and engine mounts in automotives.
Material proves increasing crack and humidity resistance
The project has now been running for 1 year, and the progress is noteworthy. The first new piezoceramic material formulation and a reference material have been identified granting the properties of increasing crack and humidity resistance.
HIPER-Act’s Project Manager Jean Bruland explains: "The composition of the piezoceramic material was one of our major challenges, and we are pleased that we at this early stage are able to see significant proves of the fact that we will overcome this challenge."
Narrow electrodes grants cheaper actuators
By modifying electrode material and screen technology for printing, it is possible to print more narrow electrodes enabling IDE (inter digitized electrode) construction and thus cheaper actuators.
"IDE is a more efficient production method, especially for larger actuators," Jean continues. "Parallel to the development of the special printing technology and paste, another more innovative approach is investigated. This second approach is based on application of wires as internal electrodes and enables a new range of electrode dimensions and materials, and thus the possibility of pushing the technology even further."
Three years to rejoice
The tremendous progress during the first year does not leave the HIPER-Act participants at ease. Many more challenges are looked upon, investigated and researched in order to reach an optimal solution.
"We have three more years in this project," Jean states, "and research of this kind takes a lot of time. We will focus upon further development of resistant piezoceramic materials, plating process and application of wires on multilayer build up. We have not yet reached our target, but our preliminary results are very promising. We are sincerely looking forward to introducing and rejoicing the new generation of piezoelectric actuators."
Source: Noliac