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Bend it like carbon

01 January, 2005

Bend it like carbon

A British manufacturer claims to have improved the performance of piezoelectric bimorphs - also known as "benders" - by using a carbon fibre inner layer instead of the usual metal. Wrexham-based Morgan Electro Ceramics says that its devices (shown below) will improve deflection, force and reliability by 20-30% compared to conventional bimorphs in applications such as medical devices, switches and valves.

A piezo bimorph consists of two piezo plates separated by an inactive inner layer. Applying a voltage to one of the plates causes it to expand, and the bimorph to bend. Unlike solenoids, bimorphs do not create electric fields.

MEC`s managing director, Dr Frank Theuws, reports that piezo benders are growing in popularity, "especially in markets where manufacturers are under pressure to make increasingly smaller products, and where power consumption, weight and speed are critical design requirements".

The new bimorphs are available in lengths from 15-45mm and widths from 2-15mm. A safety electrode ensures that the benders will continue to operate in applications where the piezo plates are stretched to breaking point.

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