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Coupled electrical-thermal-mechanical analysis of a MEMS-based microactuator (approximately 200 microns long), performed with MSC Software Marc software. Temperature-dependent material properties require nonlinear analysis to accurately model the complex behavior. As electricity passes through the actuator, the thinner beam gets hotter and expands more. It tries to bend, applying force on the other end of the actuator. When electric flow is discontinued, the actuator cools and returns to its original shape. Images show models and meshing for stress (top two) and thermal analyses. Typical automotive applications for such actuators include microvalves and dispensers in engines. Images courtesy MSC Software.

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