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Published December 1999 | Published
Journal Article Open

Design, fabrication, and testing of micromachined silicone rubbermembrane valves


Technologies for fabricating silicone rubber membranes and integrating them with other processes on silicon wafers have been developed. Silicone rubber has been found to have exceptional mechanical properties including low modulus, high elongation, and good sealing. Thermopneumatically actuated, normally open, silicone rubber membrane valves with optimized components have been designed, fabricated, and tested. Suspended silicon nitride membrane heaters have been developed for low-power thermopneumatic actuation. Composite silicone rubber on Parylene valve membranes have been shown to have low permeability and modulus. Also, novel valve seats were designed to improve sealing in the presence of particles. The valves have been extensively characterized with respect to power consumption versus flow rate and transient response. Low power consumption, high flow rate, and high pressure have been demonstrated. For example, less than 40 mW is required to switch a 1-slpm nitrogen flow at 33 psi. Water requires dose to 100 mW due to the cooling effect of the liquid.

Additional Information

"© 1999 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or to reuse any copyrighted component of this work in other works must be obtained from the IEEE." Manuscript received March 3, 1999; revised August 24, 1999. This work was supported by the DARPA MICROFLUMES program under Naval Ocean Systems Center Contract N66001-96-C-83632. Subject Editor, D. J. Harrison. The authors would like to thank E. Meng for help with testing, X.-Q. Wang for Parylene processing, Dr. Q. Lin for simulation, and T. Roper for assistance with fabrication.

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