This project was my graduating thesis from the University of Arizona College of Architecture in 2009. When I saw Thermal Actuators show up on Hackaday, I figured I should dust off the project and have another go at it. When I built my first Fluid Displacement Thermal Actuators (FDTAs), I was limited to my college's laser cutter for digital prototyping. I have since built a modest fabrication laboratory, and am excited to revisit this project with nearly a decade of personal development (and frequent contemplation of the project). When I was working on the project, I did extensive research into Thermal Actuators, and to the best of my knowledge this is a unique design. Of all the thermal actuator patents I sifted through, few used a hydraulic medium, and all of those did so with the assistance of a flexible membrane between the Phase Change Material (PCM) and the hydraulic fluid, severely limiting the stroke length.
Me, demonstrating the self deploying shade mechanism I designed (2009)