Bi-Directional Origami-Inspired SMA Folding Microactuator
We present the design, fabrication, and characterization of single and antagonistic SMA microactuators allowing for uni- and bi-directional self-folding of origami-inspired devices, respectively. Test devices consist of two triangular tiles that are interconnected by double-beam-shaped SMA microactuators fabricated from thin SMA foils of 20 µm thickness with memory shapes set to a 180° folding angle. Bi-directional self-folding is achieved by combining two counteracting SMA microactuators. We present a macromodel to describe the engineering stress–strain characteristics of the SMA foil and to perform FEM simulations on the characteristics of self-folding and the corresponding local evolution of phase transformation. Experiments on single-SMA microactuators demonstrate the uni-directional self-folding and tunability of bending angles up to 180°. The finite element simulations qualitatively describe the main features of the observed torque-folding angle characteristics and provide further insights into the angular dependence of the local profiles of the stress and martensite phase fraction. The first antagonistic SMA microactuators reveal bi-directional self-folding in the range of −44° to +40°, which remains well below the predicted limit of ±100°.