BPNX1007: Surface Tension-Driven Liquid Metal Actuator


Surface tension plays an important role in miniaturized systems as the scaling law favors its relative significance over other forces such as gravity, magnetic, and structural stiffness. As such, surface tension effects have induced process issues in microfabrication such as stiction but also provided opportunities in using the surface tension to drive microdevices, such as those based on electrowetting-on-dielectric (EWOD), electrocapillary, and continuous electrowetting (CEW) mechanism, … etc. In this project, we exploit the giant outputs by the switching of surface tension from ~500 mN/m to near zero to build artificial muscles and linear actuators by the reversible redox reaction at the surface of eutectic gallium–indium (EGaIn) droplets. Compared to other actuation mechanisms such as piezoelectric, electrostatic (e.g., dielectric elastomer actuator), and shape memory alloys (SMA), this scheme provides attractive features of low-voltage operation (as low as ~ 0.5 V), good operation frequency (~ 5 Hz) and shows potential in achieving high density at small length scales.

Project currently funded by: Member Fees

Publication date: 
February 13, 2024
Publication type: 
BSAC Project Materials (Current)
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