We use hybrid algorithm which combines both distributed and lumped analyses to model and simulate the chevron thermal actuator in electro-thermo-mechanical domain.
Electric current passing through the actuator causes Joule heating, which causes thermal expansion. Since the Joule heating is distributed along the length of the actuator, we model the electro-thermal domain using a distributed method. The distributed method that we use is the explicit finite difference method (FDM) due to its easy implementation. Since the thermal expansion amounts to a small and approximately linear deflection, we use the average temperature along the length of the actuator to determine the resulting axial forces in our lumped analysis. For lumped analysis we chose to use, SUGAR MEMS model and simulation tool, which is based on modified nodal analysis (MNA) due to its immediate availability to us.
Material, geometric and thermal properties can be defined by users. Static analysis and parameter(s) (up to 2) sweep analysis are available based on users' choice. The original and actuated model images, the table-formatted deflection data together with the SUGAR2.0 netlist (Netlist is a text file which defines the features of the model in SUGAR2.0.) are provided as output.
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