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Proceedings Paper

Shape memory polymer (SMP) actuation technology
Author(s): Frank Auffinger; Michael Fisher; Michael Maddux
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Paper Abstract

Cornerstone Research Group Inc. (CRG) is developing low-cost, lightweight, shape memory polymer (SMP) actuators for use in the deployment of rigid aeroshells. The SMP actuator technology has been selected for use because of its ability to store energy, within a very small volume, and release that energy on demand with little requirement for power. During the Phase I SBIR effort, CRG demonstrated the feasibility of using a thermally activated SMP actuator for the deployment of a subscale, rigid, deployable aeroshell. The follow-on Phase II effort improved upon the Phase I actuator technology through the application of finite element analysis and testing. This work resulted in the fabrication of a full-scale actuator (0.127m long, 0.102m diameter) that was able to develop more than 40 ft-lb of torque during actuation. A conformal cartridge heater (CCH) was developed in parallel to solve the problem of efficiently transferring heat stimulus into the SMP materials. The CCH maintains surface contact with the walls of the SMP actuator throughout the actuator's range of motion to optimize the heat transfer between the heating surface and the SMP material surface. The SMP actuator also has the potential of moving or deploying mechanisms simply through environmental stimulus. Since CRG is able to custom tailor the material properties of the SMP, broad application of this technology is possible.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 April 2010
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 7647, Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2010, 76473A (1 April 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.848860
Show Author Affiliations
Frank Auffinger, Cornerstone Research Group, Inc. (United States)
Michael Fisher, Cornerstone Research Group, Inc. (United States)
Michael Maddux, Cornerstone Research Group, Inc. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7647:
Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2010
Masayoshi Tomizuka, Editor(s)

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