This paper is concerned with design, manufacturing and performance test of lightweight THUNDER using a top fiber composite layer with near-zero CTE, a PZT ceramic wafer and a bottom glass/epoxy layer with high CTE. The main point of this design is to replace the heavy metal layers of THUNDER by the lightweight fiber reinforced plastic layers without losing capabilities to generate high force and displacement. It is possible to save weight up to about 30 percent if we replace the metallic backing materials by the light fiber composite layer. We can also have design flexibility by selecting the fiber direction and the size of prepreg layers. In addition to the lightweight advantage and design flexibility, the proposed device can be manufactured without adhesive layers when we use epoxy resin prepreg system. Glass/epoxy prepregs, a ceramic wafer with electrode surfaces, and a graphite/epoxy prepreg were simply stacked and cured at an elevated temperature by following autoclave bagging process. It was found that the manufactured composite laminate device had a sufficient curvature after detaching form a flat mold. From experimental actuation tests, it was observed that the developed actuator could generate larger actuation displacement than THUNDER.© (2000) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.