Energy-Based Comparison of Solid-State Induced-Strain Actuators

Document Type


Subject Area(s)

Physics, Chemistry, Mechanical, Engineering


A study of published literature and information from piezoelectric, electrostrictive, and magnetostrictive actuator vendors has been undertaken to establish the mechanical and electrical operating characteristics of the actuators, and to compare them using output energy density criteria. Output energy values of up to 0.666 J can be achieved with off-the-shelf actuators. Energy density per unit volume was found in the range 1.816-7.280 J/dm3. Energy density per unit mass was found in the range 0.233-0.900 J/kg. In one isolated case, higher energy densities of 11.9 J/dm3 and 1.09 J/kg were identified for a small co-fired PMN stack of 0.00481 J total energy. Energy transformation efficiency between input electric energy and output mechanical energy was found to be: 17-27% for adhesively-bonded PZT and PMN stacks, 5-20% for co-fired PZT and PMN stacks, and 67.1% for TERFENOL-D devices. The overall performance of induced-strain actuators based on output energy density criteria was found to vary widely from vendor to vendor, and even from one model to another within the same vendor catalogue list. These variations are attributed to progress being made currently in both the active material technology and in the detailed mechanical construction of induced-strain actuators based on these materials.