Buckling of dielectric elastomeric plates for soft, electrically active microfluidic pumps
Elastic instabilities, when properly implemented within soft, mechanical structures, can generate advanced functionality. In this work, we use the voltage-induced buckling of thin, flexible plates to pump fluids within a microfluidic channel. The soft electrodes that enable electrical actuation are compatible with fluids, and undergo large, reversible deformations. We quantified the onset of voltage-induced buckling, and measured the flow rate within the microchannel. This embeddable, flexible microfluidic pump will aid in the generation of new stand-alone microfluidic devices that require a tunable flow rate.