16 April 2014 Damper-controlled switch for SMA motion smoothing
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Abstract
While the use of SMA-actuated devices continues to grow in many industries, current device limitations pose a challenge to successful adoption for certain classes of applications. SMA-actuated devices typically demonstrate motion with non-constant velocity due to the non-linear thermo-mechanically coupled behavior of SMA material transformation, and motion sensitivity to external factors such as voltage and load. This variation in motion can lead to the perception of poor device quality, limiting SMA-actuated devices to applications hidden from the sight of the product user, or requiring them to be augmented with higher cost controls to improve the motion quality. Therefore, a need exists for simple, passive, low-cost device technologies that enable the designer to prescribe desired motion characteristics with relative insensitivity to fluctuation in operating conditions. This paper presents a Damper Controlled Switch (DCS) mechanism that delivers constant velocity and relative insensitivity to operating conditions when combined with a standard SMA wire actuator. The DCS includes a damper that acts against a spring to open a switch when the velocity exceeds a tunable threshold. To validate the ability of the DCS to provide the desired motion quality, experiments were conducted comparing the normal motion of the SMA actuator to the motion produced when the same actuator was fitted with a DCS prototype. The addition of the DCS produced nearly constant actuator velocity, performing significantly better than the SMA actuator alone. The tunability of the DCS was demonstrated producing a wide range of attainable constant velocities. Finally, a set of experiments explored the DCS’s sensitivity to voltage and load, indicating a low sensitivity to a wide range of operating parameters for which the operating limits were identified. The DCS represents a simple, compact technology based on passive, low-cost components, providing a very practical solution that will enable integration of SMA-actuated devices into a broader class of applications.
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Clover Aguayo, Clover Aguayo, Brent Utter, Brent Utter, Jonathan Luntz, Jonathan Luntz, Richard Gonzalez, Richard Gonzalez, Diann Brei, Diann Brei, Nancy L. Johnson, Nancy L. Johnson, Paul W. Alexander, Paul W. Alexander, "Damper-controlled switch for SMA motion smoothing", Proc. SPIE 9059, Industrial and Commercial Applications of Smart Structures Technologies 2014, 90590H (16 April 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2052871; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2052871
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