Multiphysics Simulation of a Self-heating Paraffin Membrane Microactuator

P. Lazarou[1], C. Rotinat[1]
[1]CEA LIST/DIASI/LRI, Paris, France
Published in 2013

A grand variety of microactuator technologies and demonstrators has been introduced during the last years. Of particular interest are the microactuators based on phase change materials and especially paraffin wax, which can volumetrically expand up to 15%, providing high force actuation. The object of this study is the numerical validation of a paraffin microactuator concept by coupling multiple physics and phase change. The coupling procedure is explained, along with the approximations for the various material properties and the phase change equations. Finally, the results of the simulations and the available experimental data are compared and discussed, showing that this kind of multiphysics coupling and simulation approximates successfully the complex real phenomena.