Piezoelectric T-beam actuators

Hareesh K.R. Kommepalli, Kiron Mateti, Christopher D. Rahn, Srinivas A. Tadigadapa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This paper develops models, fabricates, experimentally tests, and optimizes a novel piezoelectric T-beam actuator. With a T-shaped cross-section, and bottom and top flanges and web electrodes, a cantilevered beam can bend in both in-plane and out-of-plane directions upon actuation. Analytical models predict the tip displacement and blocking force in both directions. Six mesoscale T-beam prototypes are monolithically fabricated by machining and microfabrication techniques and experimentally tested for in-plane and out-of-plane displacements and out-of-plane blocking force. The analytical models closely predict the T-beam displacement and blocking force performance. A nondimensional analytical model predicts that all T-beam designs for both in-plane and out-of-plane actuations, regardless of scale, have nondimensional displacement and blocking force equal to nondimensional voltage. Another form of nondimensional model optimizes the T-beam cross-section for maximum performance. Optimization study shows that a cross-section with width ratio, b*, and thickness ratio, t*, approaching zero produces maximum displacement, b* = t* = 0.381 produces maximum blocking force, and b* ≈ 0.25, t* ≈ 0.33 produces maximum mechanical energy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number061003
JournalJournal of Mechanical Design
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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