Scaling of piezoelectric actuators: A comparison with traditional and other new technologies

Jose L Pons*, E. Rocon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Miniaturization is not a logical trend in actuator systems. Unlike actuators, sensors intrinsically perform more efficiently upon miniaturization. This is a logical consequence of the exchange of energy in the transduction process when applying sensors: measurement ideally should not influence the system being measured, thus the minimum exchange of energy is necessary and this intrinsically leads to miniaturization. In actuators, a transduction process is likewise established but the aim is to impose a mechanical state on a system. It is of particular interest not having this state influenced by perturbations, thus there are strong requirements on power delivered by the actuator. In view of current trends towards miniaturization, it is worth inquiring how the performance of piezoelectric actuators is affected by reducing their size. We are not concerned here with the domain of micro-actuators, i.e. actuators with sizes in the micrometer range. The analysis in this paper focuses on studying how four useful parameters for describing the performance of actuators are influenced by miniaturization: resonance frequency, force density, response time (bandwidth), stroke and energy density per cycle. In so doing, the analysis is restricted to non resonant piezoelectric actuators, i.e. stack, multimorph and inchworm actuators, but reference to other piezoelectric, emerging and traditional actuators is included for comparison.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)132-138
Number of pages7
JournalBoletin de la Sociedad Espanola de Ceramica y Vidrio
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2006


  • Inchworm actuators
  • Multimorph actuators
  • Piezoelectric stack actuators
  • Scaling laws

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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