Modeling the Thermo-mechanical Behavior of a “V”-shaped Composite Buckle-beam Thermal Actuator

Kushkiev I., Jupina, M.A.
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Villanova University, Villanova, PA

In this paper, we validate a numerical model of a “V”-shaped buckle-beam electro-thermal actuator through FEMLAB simulation. The motivation here is similar to that of the simulation of purely electronic VLSI circuits: before manufacturing a prototype, one wishes to virtually build the device and predict its behavior.

FEMLAB allowed us to study the effect of temperature dependant electrical and thermal conductivities on the composite micro-beam structure. Effective values for the applied current Ieff, total beam resistance Reff, electrical conductivity seff, thermal conductivity keff, and thermal expansion coefficient aeff are computed and used in order to compare a simulated actuator model to the analytical one.

A close consistency between the two is found which indicates that the simplified numerical model with effective parameter values could be used in modeling a much more complex and realistic composite "V"-beam thermal actuator structure.