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Proceedings Paper

Design of a high-efficiency discrete servo-flap actuator for helicopter rotor control
Author(s): Eric F. Prechtl; Steven R. Hall
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Paper Abstract

Discrete trailing edge servo-flap actuator designs for use in rotor control applications are considered. A survey was conducted comparing the pros and cons of a number of feasible actuator designs. The major conclusions from this survey indicate that any successful actuator design will utilize a high bandwidth active material, produce large amplification of the active material stroke, and incorporate a simple compressive pre-stress mechanism while remaining efficient in a mass normalized sense. The mass efficiency, defined as the ratio of the specific work performed to the specific energy available, was used as a metric to rate the actuators considered in this survey. Thus, unnecessarily heavy actuators are penalized, which is appropriate when designing components operating under high centrifugal forces. The most feasible discrete actuators are those where the active material reacts against an inert support frame housing. An upper bound on the mass efficiency of this type of actuator is shown to be a function of the ratio of active material to frame specific moduli. A new high efficiency discrete actuator called the x- frame actuator, developed at MIT, and designed in accordance with the lessons learned from the actuator survey, is described. A prototype of this actuator, 150% of model scale, was built and tested on the bench top to confirm the predicted performance. The prototype demonstrates an output energy density of 14.6 ft-lb/slug. It also has a bandwidth of 543 Hz upon driving a nearly impedance matched load. This performance is shown to correspond to a mass efficiency between 18 and 31%.

Paper Details

Date Published: 6 June 1997
PDF: 25 pages
Proc. SPIE 3041, Smart Structures and Materials 1997: Smart Structures and Integrated Systems, (6 June 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.275645
Show Author Affiliations
Eric F. Prechtl, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
Steven R. Hall, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3041:
Smart Structures and Materials 1997: Smart Structures and Integrated Systems
Mark E. Regelbrugge, Editor(s)

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