A MEMS actuator has been designed, fabricated, and tested for the purpose of understanding capillary forces of liquids at the microscale. Experiments showed that this novel design method allows a MEMS plate, with dimensions of 100 μm x 20 μm x 4 μm thick, to be lowered by 10x its thickness into de-ionized water without inundation of the plate or the MEMS actuator's sensitive areas. The maximum force applied to the MEMS actuator during the lowering of the device was 5.2 μN, as recorded by the calibrated MEMS springs. In another experiment, the plate was extracted from the water's surface and a maximum force of 12.3 μN was applied to the plate. Movement of the plate during extraction was 40-50 μm. The novel design method utilizes the ability of sharp edges to prohibit the spreading of the de-ionized water. The mechanism by which the contact line between the water, air, and MEMS plate moves is described in detail. This mechanism also explains why the maximum force during the lowering of the plate was less than that of the plate being extracted from the water's surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMicro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS)
PublisherAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780791816387
StatePublished - 1999
EventASME 1999 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, IMECE 1999 - Nashville, United States
Duration: Nov 14 1999Nov 19 1999

Publication series

NameASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, Proceedings (IMECE)


ConferenceASME 1999 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, IMECE 1999
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering


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