A Microfluidic Rotational Motor Driven by Circular Vibrations

Micromachines (Basel). 2019 Nov 23;10(12):809. doi: 10.3390/mi10120809.


Constructing micro-sized machines always involves the problem of how to bring the energy (electric, magnetic, light, electro wetting, vibrational, etc.) source to the device to produce mechanical movements. The paper presents a rotational micro-sized motor (the diameter of the rotor is 350 µm) driven by low frequency (200-700 Hz) circular vibrations, made by two piezoelectric actuators, through the medium of a water droplet with diameter of 1 mm (volume 3.6 µL). The theoretical model presents how to produce the circular streaming (rotation) of the liquid around an infinitely long pillar with micro-sized diameter. The practical application has been focused to make a time-stable circular stream of the medium around the finite long vibrated pillar with diameter of 80 µm in the presence of disturbances produced by the vibrated plate where the pillar is placed. Only the time-stable circular stream in the water droplet around the pillar produces enough energy to rotate the micro-sized rotor. The rotational speed of the rotor is controlled in both directions from -20 rad/s to +26 rad/s. 3D printed mechanical amplifiers of vibrations, driven by piezoelectric actuators, amplify the amplitude of the piezoelectric actuator up to 20 µm in the frequency region of 200 to 700 Hz.

Keywords: circular vibrations; micro-sized rotational motor; micro-sized vortices in a water droplet; microfluidics; piezoelectric actuators.