18 July 2014 Design of a radio telescope surface segment actuator based on a form-closed eccentric cam
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Abstract
As radio telescopes have reached larger diameters and higher frequencies, it is typically not possible to meet their surface accuracy specifications using passive homology-based designs. The most common solution to this problem in the current generation of large, high-frequency radio telescopes is to employ a system of linear actuators to correct the surface shape of the primary reflector. The exact specifications of active surface actuators vary with the telescope. However, they have many common features, some of which drive their design. In general, these actuators must provide precise and repeatable positioning under significant loads during operation and they must withstand even higher loads for survival conditions. For general safety, they typically must hold position in the event of a power failure and must incorporate position limits, whether electrical, mechanical, or both. Because the number of actuators is generally high for large active surfaces (hundreds or even thousands of actuators), they must also be reliable and of reasonable individual cost. Finally, for maximum flexibility in their installation, they must be compact. This paper presents a concept for an active surface actuator based on a form-closed eccentric cam (kinematically, a Scotch Yoke mechanism). Such a design is limited in stroke, but offers potential advantages in terms of manufacture, compactness, measurement, and survival loading. The paper demonstrates that some of the expected advantages cannot be practically realized, due to dimensions that are driven by survival loading conditions. As a result, this concept is likely to offer an advantage over conventional screw-type actuators only for cases where actuator runaway and stall are the driving considerations.
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David R. Smith, David R. Smith, } "Design of a radio telescope surface segment actuator based on a form-closed eccentric cam", Proc. SPIE 9151, Advances in Optical and Mechanical Technologies for Telescopes and Instrumentation, 91512F (18 July 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2057292; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2057292
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