In this paper, fundamental research is performed on membrane type actuators made out of 316L stainless steel, manufactured with Laser powder bed fusion (LPBF). A total of six membranes with membrane thicknesses ranging from 0.6 mm up to 1.2 mm were scanned using a high precision metrology system to measure the membrane for displacement at different actuating pressures. The membranes were furthermore investigated for roughness, porosity and thickness. This showed that the thinnest membranes skewed in the print direction when actuated. The remaining membranes achieved higher specific displacements than finite element simulations (FES) predicted, due to surface roughness and porosity. Membrane type actuators can be used for precise actuation within the micrometre range. LPBF allows the creation of internal pockets and membranes in a single metal piece. In opposition to the more commonly used polymers for membrane-type actuators, LPBF steel printed parts offer high stiffness and actuation force. However, due to limitations of the LPBF process on thin walls, large deviations from FES occur. In this paper, a CAD and FES compensation strategy is suggested, which makes future, more complex and effective, designs possible.
Bibliographical noteDOI: 10.3390/act10110296
- Additive manufacturing application
- Laser powder bed fusion
- Micro-range actuation
- Membrane actuator
- 316L Stainless steel
- Elastic deformation