Forum für Wissenschaft, Industrie und Wirtschaft

Hauptsponsoren:     3M 
Datenbankrecherche:

 

Motorless pumps and self-regulating valves made from ultrathin film

21.03.2019

The valves and pumps being developed by the research group led by Professor Stefan Seelecke at Saarland University are made from electroactive silicone film and offer a lot more than just the typical ‘open/close’ or ‘on/off’ functionality. The researchers control the film electrically and can make it execute precise vibrations or pulses on demand, while also monitoring its exact position or shape. This responsiveness makes it possible to continuously vary the flow rate through a valve or continuously regulate the performance of a pump. Another feature of these film-based devices is that they can indicate if they have become blocked by a foreign body.

As the researchers can shape the films to fit into almost any casing, the films can be used in a broad range of practical applications.


Philipp Linnebach (l.) and Steffen Hau (r.) from the research team led by Prof. Stefan Seelecke with prototypes of a motorless pump (centre) and a smart valve made from electroactive polymer film.

Photo credit: Oliver Dietze


Professor Stefan Seelecke

Photo credit: Oliver Dietze

The team will be at this year’s Hannover Messe, where they will be demonstrating their technology at the Saarland Research and Innovation Stand (Hall 2, Stand B46).

The failure of small valves or pumps in a large industrial plant can cause major problems for the maintenance and repair teams. It can take quite a time before the faulty component has been tracked down.

And this can be all the more problematic if the fault took time to make itself felt; the longer it takes to find a fault, the greater the potential damage to the plant. If, for example, a foreign body becomes trapped in a valve and the valve doesn’t close properly as a result, it can take time before operators are aware of the malfunction.

Thankfully, this situation does not arise with the novel pumps and valves that have been developed by Professor Stefan Seelecke and his research team at Saarland University. ‘Our devices are able to communicate their status and their activity in real time. For instance, the valve can tell us not only whether it is open or closed, but exactly how far open it is. If it can’t close because of the presence of a foreign body, it can also communicate this fact to us,’ explains Professor Seelecke.

The valves and pumps created by the Saarbrücken research group are made from a thin silicone film that is printed on both sides with an electrically conducting material. Scientists refer to these materials as dielectric elastomers. ‘If we apply a voltage to the film, it generates an electrostatic attractive force that compresses the film, causing it to expand out sideways,’ says Steffen Hau, a PhD engineer working in Seelecke’s team.

By altering the applied electric field in a controlled manner, the engineers can make the film undergo high-frequency vibrations or continuously variable flexing motions. Effectively, the film can adopt almost any required position or orientation. ‘These properties mean that the film can be used to design novel drive systems,’ explains Hau.

Using intelligent algorithms to control the movement of the film, the researchers at Saarland University and at the Center for Mechatronics and Automation Technology (ZeMA) in Saarbrücken are developing self-regulating valves and motorless pumps. ‘We don’t need any separate moving parts for our pumps. Because the pumps can run without a rotating motor, they are flat, compact and very energy efficient,’ says Hau. ‘We can control the volume flow rate in these pumps using the amplitude of the applied voltage rather than the frequency, which is what is normally used,’ he adds. This enables very quiet pumps to be built.

‘As the film itself can act as a position sensor, so too can a component made from it,’ says Philipp Linnebach, a doctoral research student who is studying the new film-based drive systems. When the film distorts, an electrical capacitance value can be precisely assigned to any particular position of the film. ‘If we measure a change in capacitance, we know exactly by how much the film has distorted, explains Linnebach. This allows specific motion sequences to be calculated precisely and programmed in a control unit. The film-based valve can therefore be used to deliver exactly the required amount of compressed air or liquid.

The film itself is essentially a flat structure. ‘We have now developed the technology to a point where we can produce films of the required shape. So we can now adapt the films to meet the needs of specific applications,’ says Steffen Hau. The technology is cost-effective to manufacture and the components are very lightweight. They also consume very little energy and are more than a hundred times more energy efficient than conventional components. Compared to a conventional solenoid valve, the film-based valve consumes up to 400 times less energy.

Press photographs are available at http://www.uni-saarland.de/pressefotos and can be used free of charge. Please read and comply with the conditions of use.

This press release is available in German at:
https://www.uni-saarland.de/nc/universitaet/aktuell/artikel/nr/20632.html

Contact for press enquiries:
Prof. Dr. Stefan Seelecke, Intelligent Material Systems Lab, Saarland University:
Tel.: +49 (0)681 302-71341; Email: stefan.seelecke@imsl.uni-saarland.de
Dr. Steffen Hau: Tel.: +49 (0)681-302-71354, E-Mail: steffen.hau@imsl.uni-saarland.de
Philipp Linnebach: Tel.: +49 (0)681 302-71350, Email: philipp.linnebach@imsl.uni-saarland.de
Dr. Paul Motzki, Tel.: +49 681 85787-545; Email: p.motzki@zema.de

Background:
ZeMA – Center for Mechatronics and Automation Technology in Saarbrücken – is a research hub for collaborative projects involving researchers from Saarland University, Saarland University of Applied Sciences (htw saar) and industrial partners. ZeMA is home to a large number of industry-specific development projects that aim to transform research findings into practical industrial applications.
http://www.zema.de/

The Saarland Research and Innovation Stand at Hannover Messe is organized by Saarland University’s Knowledge and Technology Transfer Office (KWT). KWT is the central point of contact for companies interested in exploring opportunities for cooperation and collaboration with researchers at Saarland University.
https://www.kwt-uni-saarland.de/

Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

Prof. Dr. Stefan Seelecke, Intelligent Material Systems Lab, Saarland University:
Tel.: +49 (0)681 302-71341; Email: stefan.seelecke@imsl.uni-saarland.de
Dr. Steffen Hau: Tel.: +49 (0)681-302-71354, E-Mail: steffen.hau@imsl.uni-saarland.de
Philipp Linnebach: Tel.: +49 (0)681 302-71350, Email: philipp.linnebach@imsl.uni-saarland.de
Dr. Paul Motzki, Tel.: +49 681 85787-545; Email: p.motzki@zema.de

Claudia Ehrlich | Universität des Saarlandes
Further information:
http://www.uni-saarland.de

More articles from HANNOVER MESSE:

nachricht Autonomous 3D scanner supports individual manufacturing processes
06.02.2018 | Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

nachricht Measurement of components in 3D under water
01.04.2015 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Optik und Feinmechanik IOF

All articles from HANNOVER MESSE >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Bessere Wärmeleitfähigkeit durch geänderte Atomanordnung

Die Anpassung der Wärmeleitfähigkeit von Materialien ist eine aktuelle Herausforderung in den Nanowissenschaften. Forschende der Universität Basel haben mit Kolleginnen und Kollegen aus den Niederlanden und Spanien gezeigt, dass sich allein durch die Anordnung von Atomen in Nanodrähten atomare Vibrationen steuern lassen, welche die Wärmeleitfähigkeit bestimmen. Die Wissenschaftler veröffentlichten die Ergebnisse kürzlich im Fachblatt «Nano Letters».

In der Elektronik- und Computerindustrie werden die Komponenten immer kleiner und leistungsfähiger. Problematisch ist dabei die Wärmeentwicklung, die durch...

Im Focus: Better thermal conductivity by adjusting the arrangement of atoms

Adjusting the thermal conductivity of materials is one of the challenges nanoscience is currently facing. Together with colleagues from the Netherlands and Spain, researchers from the University of Basel have shown that the atomic vibrations that determine heat generation in nanowires can be controlled through the arrangement of atoms alone. The scientists will publish the results shortly in the journal Nano Letters.

In the electronics and computer industry, components are becoming ever smaller and more powerful. However, there are problems with the heat generation. It is...

Im Focus: Nanopartikel mit neuartigen elektronischen Eigenschaften

Forscher der FAU haben Konzept zur Steuerung von Nanopartikeln entwickelt

Die optischen und elektronischen Eigenschaften von Aluminiumoxid-Nanopartikeln, die eigentlich elektronisch inert und optisch inaktiv sind, können gesteuert...

Im Focus: First-ever visualizations of electrical gating effects on electronic structure

Scientists have visualised the electronic structure in a microelectronic device for the first time, opening up opportunities for finely-tuned high performance electronic devices.

Physicists from the University of Warwick and the University of Washington have developed a technique to measure the energy and momentum of electrons in...

Im Focus: Neues Verfahren für den Kampf gegen Viren

Forschende der Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft in Sulzbach und Regensburg arbeiten im Projekt ViroSens gemeinsam mit Industriepartnern an einem neuartigen Analyseverfahren, um die Wirksamkeitsprüfung von Impfstoffen effizienter und kostengünstiger zu machen. Die Methode kombiniert elektrochemische Sensorik und Biotechnologie und ermöglicht erstmals eine komplett automatisierte Analyse des Infektionszustands von Testzellen.

Die Meisten sehen Impfungen als einen Segen der modernen Medizin, da sie vor gefährlichen Viruserkrankungen schützen. Doch bevor es ein Impfstoff in die...

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industrie & Wirtschaft
Veranstaltungen

Testzone für die KI-gestützte Produktion

18.07.2019 | Veranstaltungen

„World Brain Day“ zum Thema Migräne: individualisierte Therapie statt Schmerzmittelübergebrauch

18.07.2019 | Veranstaltungen

Kosmos-Konferenz: Navigating the Sustainability Transformation in the 21st Century

17.07.2019 | Veranstaltungen

VideoLinks
Wissenschaft & Forschung
Weitere VideoLinks im Überblick >>>
 
Aktuelle Beiträge

Vielfältiger einsetzbare Materialien

19.07.2019 | Biowissenschaften Chemie

Regulation des Wurzelwachstums aus der Ferne

19.07.2019 | Biowissenschaften Chemie

Bessere Wärmeleitfähigkeit durch geänderte Atomanordnung

19.07.2019 | Physik Astronomie

Weitere B2B-VideoLinks
IHR
JOB & KARRIERE
SERVICE
im innovations-report
in Kooperation mit academics