A Motionless Actuation System for Magnetic Shape Memory Devices

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Ni–Mn–Ga is a Magnetic Shape Memory (MSM) alloy that changes shape in response to a variable magnetic field. We can intentionally manipulate the shape of the material to function as an actuator, and the material can thus replace complicated small electromechanical systems. In previous work, a very simple and precise solid-state micropump was developed, but a mechanical rotation was required to translate the position of the magnetic field. This mechanical rotation defeats the purpose of the motionless solid-state device. Here we present a solid-state electromagnetic driver to linearly progress the position of the applied magnetic field and the associated shrinkage. The generated magnetic field was focused at either of two pole pieces, providing a mechanism for moving the localized shrinkage in the MSM element. We confirmed that our driver has sufficient strength to actuate the MSM element using optical microscopy. We validated the whole design by comparing results obtained with finite element analysis with the experimentally measured flux density. This drive system serves as a possible replacement to the mechanical rotation of the magnetic field by using a multi-pole electromagnet that sweeps the magnetic field across the MSM micropump element, solid-state switching the current to each pole piece in the multi-pole electromagnet.