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Proceedings Paper

Evaluation criteria for THUNDER actuators
Author(s): Karla M. Mossi; Richard P. Bishop; Ralph C. Smith; H. Thomas Banks
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Paper Abstract

THUNDERTM (thin-layer composite unimorph ferroelectric driver and sensor) represents a new class of piezoceramic- based actuators capable of generating significant displacements and forces in response to input voltages. The performance capabilities of THUNDERTM actuators are due to the component materials and process used in their construction. A typical THUNDERTM actuator is composed of metallic backing materials (e.g., aluminum or stainless steel), a piezoceramic wafer, and adhesive in spray or film form. The materials are bonded under high pressures and temperatures and then cooled to room temperature after the adhesive has solidified. Due to the prestresses which result from the differing thermal properties of the component materials under cooling, the actuator is highly durable with respect to mechanical impacts and voltage levels. As a result of this construction voltages in excess of 800 V can be applied to new actuator models without causing damage. This provides the actuators with significant displacement and force capabilities. In this paper, we discuss the development of evaluation criteria which are suitable for characterizing the actuator capabilities and provide a legitimate methodology for comparing THUNDERTM properties with those of other smart material actuators. For example, the concept of blocked force is often used to quantify the force capabilities of an actuator. However due to the inherent curvature and mode of operation, standard techniques for measuring blocked forces are inappropriate for THUNDERTM actuators. Furthermore, changing operating conditions, frequency, etc., often make blocked force measurements ambiguous. We will discuss techniques for evaluating THUNDERTM properties in a manner which limits such ambiguities when comparing with other smart materials. We note that the evaluation issues discussed here are germane to a variety of high performance smart material transducers.

Paper Details

Date Published: 4 June 1999
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 3667, Smart Structures and Materials 1999: Mathematics and Control in Smart Structures, (4 June 1999); doi: 10.1117/12.350128
Show Author Affiliations
Karla M. Mossi, FACE International Corp. (United States)
Richard P. Bishop, FACE International Corp. (United States)
Ralph C. Smith, North Carolina State Univ. (United States)
H. Thomas Banks, North Carolina State Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3667:
Smart Structures and Materials 1999: Mathematics and Control in Smart Structures
Vasundara V. Varadan, Editor(s)

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