Part of the book: Applications and Experiences of Quality Control
Quality control of piezoelectric micropumps is presented through design, fabrication process, operation, and characterization. The presented study resulted in the extraction of a minimal set of monitored parameters, which is a prerequisite for reliable and stable micropump operation. Micropump fabrication process steps, especially bonding process quality, in correlation with quality control of micropump constituent components (housing, elastomer, and piezoelectric actuator) provided an explanation for deterioration of common micropump characteristics, such as flow vs. backpressure, suction pressure, and excitation signal. These characteristics also manifested in deterioration of other important micropump properties, such as self-priming ability, bubble tolerance, long-term stability, heat dissipation, and temperature operating range. Besides air and DI water pumping, chemical compatibility of constituent materials was confirmed during successful long-term testing of micropumps by pumping media with different viscosity and aggressive media with low pH value. The extracted set of parameters defines input control for micropump fabrication process while at the same time establishes safe operating area of fabricated micropumps. The presented set of parameters provides quality control guidelines and enables a direct comparison from pump-to-pump or run-to-run variations and extraction of influencing design or fabrication parameters.
Part of the book: Quality Management and Quality Control
The chapter will briefly present three distinctive concepts of the micropump actuator driving module, each with its waveform specifics and their impact on particular micropump performance (pumping media, flow rate and backpressure). First presented concept is based on two mutually-exclusive boost switched-mode power supply modules. Characterization of this module identified output voltage asymmetry to be the limiting factor of micropump performance. To assure driving symmetry, an alternative driving module, based on independent high-voltage stages and optocouplers, was implemented. This design is capable of driving a piezoelectric micropump with a rectangular waveform of programmable frequency, positive and negative amplitudes, slew rates and dead time. While this design provides maximum flow and backpressure characteristics, it does not offer minimal current consumption and long-term operation. To overcome this difficulty, our current design is based on an embedded arbitrary waveform generator, which offers an efficient trade-off between high pumping performance and low current consumption.
Part of the book: Piezoelectric Actuators