A solid hydraulically amplified piezoelectric microvalve

Xiaosong Wu, Seong Hyok Kim, Chang Hyeon Ji, Mark G. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


We report a piezoelectrically driven and hydraulically amplified axial polymer microvalve. The microvalve is normally open and is assembled primarily with stereolithographically fabricated polymer components. An incompressible elastomer is used as a solid hydraulic medium to convert the small axial displacement of a piezoelectric actuator into a large valve head stroke while maintaining a large blocking force. Also, the axial design of the microvalve enables densely packed valve arrays. One application of this microvalve is in pneumatic tactile displays, which operates against gas pressure up to approximately 90 kPa and switching speed between 1 and 200 Hz. The current valve design has a maximum static hydraulic amplification ratio of 5 at 30 V driving voltage and a maximum valve head stroke of 37 νm at 150 V. Under a 94.4 kPa differential pressure, the flow rate of the valve and the closing voltage measure are 785 mL min-1 and 150 V, respectively. The function of the microvalve as an on-off switch for a pneumatic microbubble tactile actuator is demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish
Article number095003
JournalJournal of Micromechanics and Microengineering
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2011


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