Dielectric elastomers are well-known for their superior
stretchability and permittivity. A fully-clamped thin elastomer will buckle when it
is compressed by applying sufficient electric potentials to its sides. When embedded
within soft, silicone rubbers, these advanced materials can provide a means for a biocompatible
pumping mechanism that can be used to inject bio-fluids with desired
flow rates into microfluidic devices, tissues, and organs of interest. We have incorporated
a dielectric film that is sandwiched between two thin, flexible, solid electrodes
into a microfluidic device and utilized a voltage-induced out-of-plane buckling instability
for pumping of fluids. We experimentally quantify the voltage-induced plate
buckling and measure the fluid flow rate when the structure is embedded in a microchannel.
Additionally, we offer an analytical prediction that uses plate buckling
theory to estimate the flow rate as a function of applied voltage.