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Proceedings Paper

Post-buckled precompressed (PBP) elements: a new class of flight control actuators enhancing high-speed autonomous VTOL MAVs
Author(s): Ronald Barrett; Ross McMurtry; Roelof Vos; Paolo Tiso; Roeland De Breuker
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Paper Abstract

This paper describes a new class of flight control actuators using Post-Buckled Precompressed (PBP) piezoelectric elements. These actuators are designed to produce significantly higher deflection and force levels than conventional piezoelectric actuator elements. Classical laminate plate theory (CLPT) models are shown to work very well in capturing the behavior of the free, unloaded elements. A new high transverse deflection model which employs nonlinear structural relations is shown to successfully predict the performance of the PBP actuators as they are exposed to higher and higher levels of axial force, which induces post buckling deflections. A proof-of-concept empennage assembly and actuator were fabricated using the principles of PBP actuation. A single grid-fin flight control effector was driven by a 3.5" (88.9mm) long piezoceramic bimorph PBP actuator. By using the PBP configuration, deflections were controllably magnified 4.5 times with excellent correlation between theory and experiment. Quasi-static bench testing showed deflection levels in excess of ±6° at rates exceeding 15 Hz. The new solid state PBP actuator was shown to reduce the part count with respect to conventional servoactuators by an order of magnitude. Power consumption dropped from 24W to 100mW, weight was cut from 108g to 14g, slop went from 1.6° to 0.02° and current draw went from 5A to 1.4mA. The result was that the XQ-138 subscale UAV family experienced nearly a 4% reduction in operating empty weight via the switch from conventional to PBP actuators while in every other measure, gross performance was significantly enhanced.

Paper Details

Date Published: 5 May 2005
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 5762, Smart Structures and Materials 2005: Industrial and Commercial Applications of Smart Structures Technologies, (5 May 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.599083
Show Author Affiliations
Ronald Barrett, Delft Univ. of Technology (Netherlands)
Auburn Univ. (United States)
Ross McMurtry, Delft Univ. of Technology (Netherlands)
Imperial College (United Kingdom)
Roelof Vos, Delft Univ. of Technology (Netherlands)
Auburn Univ. (United States)
Paolo Tiso, Delft Univ. of Technology (Netherlands)
Roeland De Breuker, Delft Univ. of Technology (Netherlands)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5762:
Smart Structures and Materials 2005: Industrial and Commercial Applications of Smart Structures Technologies
Edward V. White, Editor(s)

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