A high-performance compact electromagnetic actuator for a PMMA ball-valve micropump
We present the microfabrication and characterization of a reciprocating-type poly(methylmetacrylate) (PMMA) ball-valve micropump which is actuated with a high-performance and compact electromagnetic circuit of centimeter size. We have improved by finite element calculations the magnetic design of the electromagnet that actuates a NdFeB permanent magnet embedded in a poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) pumping membrane. Powder blasting technology and conventional micromachining techniques are employed for the microstructuring of PMMA layers. The ball-valve micropump is bubble tolerant and has self-priming capabilities. It has a resonant frequency of around 20 Hz, and it exhibits a backpressure up to 37 kPa; water is pumped at flow rates up to 6.8 mL min−1 for a 2 W electromagnetic actuation power. The actuation frequency dependence of the flow rate can be well described by a fluidic damped oscillator model.