22 June 2000 Design and testing of a double X-frame piezoelectric actuator
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The development and testing of a new actuator for helicopter rotor control, the Double X-Frame, is described. The actuator is being developed for wind tunnel and flight testing on an MD-900 helicopter. The double X-frame actuator has a number of design innovations to improve its performance over the original X-frame design of Prechtl and Hall. First, the double X-frame design uses two X-frames operating in opposition, which allows the actuator stack preloads to be applied internally to the actuator, rather than through the actuation path. Second, the frames of the actuator have been modified to improve the actuator form factor, and increase the volume of active material in the actuator. Testing of the double X-frame piezoelectric actuator was conducted in order to determine its performance (stroke and stiffness) and robustness. In general, stiffness test data compared well with the analytical predictions. The actuator stroke was about 15% less than expected, probably due to the stack output being less in the actuator than as measured in single stack segment testing in the lab. The actuator was also tested dynamically, to determine its frequency response. Actuator robustness was evaluated by measuring its performance when subjected to the effects of blade bending, vibration, and centrifugal loading. Blade elastic bending and torsion deformations were simulated by shimming of the actuator mounts. To assess the impact of the blade vibrations, the actuator and bench test rig were mounted on a hydraulic shaker and subjected to flapwise or chordwise accelerations up to 30 g. To assess the impact of centrifugal force loading, the actuator and bench test rig were spun in the University of Maryland vacuum chamber, so that the actuator was subjected to realistic accelerations, up to 115% of nominal. Results showed that actuator output (force times stroke) was largely unaffected by dynamic and steady accelerations or elastic blade deformations.
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Steven R. Hall, Steven R. Hall, Theodora Tzianetopoulou, Theodora Tzianetopoulou, Friedrich K. Straub, Friedrich K. Straub, Hieu T. Ngo, Hieu T. Ngo, "Design and testing of a double X-frame piezoelectric actuator", Proc. SPIE 3985, Smart Structures and Materials 2000: Smart Structures and Integrated Systems, (22 June 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.388830; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.388830

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