An eco-friendly, biocompatible and reliable piezoelectric nanocomposite actuator for the new generation of microelectronic devices
Advanced Research Laboratory for Multifunctional Lightweight Structures (ARL-MLS), Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
Accepted: 7 June 2021
Published online: 21 June 2021
In this work, a lead-free piezoelectric nanocomposite material is proposed to be used as an actuator for electronic devices in microscales. Specifically, the use of the novel nanocomposite is examined as a micropump actuator with insulin delivery applications for individuals suffering from diabetes. This novel actuator replaces both the passive substrate and the active layer of traditional diaphragms. The active layer in traditional micropumps usually uses a piezoelectric lead zirconate titanate (PZT) layer due to its strong and desirable properties. PZT contains lead, which is toxic and environmentally hazardous. It is therefore desirable to use lead-free materials. The proposed nanocomposite material contains barium titanate (BaTiO3) nanoparticles, as a lead-free piezoelectric material, embedded in a piezoelectric polymeric matrix of polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF). The active nanocomposite’s electromechanical properties were estimated using Eshelby’s approach. This actuator has been developed and tested with COMSOL Multiphysics, meeting requirements needed for an insulin micropump. The proposed micropump meets the requirements for insulin delivery including a flow rate of 0.1–20 µL/min and a backpressure of greater than 9.8 kPa. Moreover, a comprehensive study on the static, free vibration, and dynamic behavior of the proposed diaphragm has been performed. This work shows that a BaTiO3/PVDF nanocomposite actuator is able to provide means of actuating an insulin delivery micropump. This nanocomposite can be an alternative to traditional lead-containing actuators. The lead-free actuator is also eco-friendly and bio-compatible, which are important considerations when designing a safe and sustainable micropump, especially for medical applications.
© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Società Italiana di Fisica and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2021