An important part of the Navy objectives is to be both more efficient and enable manpower reduction is to reduce maintenance, reduce manpower, and eliminate pollutants through creating a more all-electric ship environment. However, placement of both non-centralized and centralized hydraulic systems for control of heavy machinery, large bay doors, articulated systems such as rudders for controlling air flow to the skirt system (such as in Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) is extremely challenging. At the base of the design approach to a Mechatronic Motion System is the fact that such applications do not require high precision. What is required is that the actuator delivers sufficient thrust power without increasing the existing actuator weight and be a self-contained unit. To address this need, QorTek and PSU have been developing a new concept of an entirely new kind of motion system actuator that has few parts, enormous thrust capability for its compact size, and is amenable to affordable manufacture. The new Quadrature Mechatronic Actuator (QMA) is a hydraulic replacement that will match hydraulic force-displacement capabilities in a fully solid-state design. Quadrature Mechatronic Actuators will look very similar to the existing hydraulic actuators currently used on LCAC. These compact self-contained units represent a one-for-one substitute for existing equipment. The Mechatronic Actuator itself will be lighter and slightly smaller than its hydraulic actuator equivalent and use one or more internal hybrid solid-state drivers that are internally coupled to a linear translator.
One of the greatest challenges to practical implementation of smart structures to defense and aerospace systems is the heavy cost of the power electronics and control. Examples of such devices include those driven by piezoelectric, electrostrictive, or magnetostrictive transducers. Typically, the power + control for such device mechanisms are many times the size and cost of the activation mechanism itself. In many cases, this reduces to impractical the capability of implementing otherwise attractive smart structures solutions. QorTek has developed a completely new kind of power drive system suitable for many aerospace applications where weight and compactness are a premium. This patented new technology is referred to as Zero Net Charge (ZNC) power electronics. Conventional and regenerative Class D electronic topologies require large dc power supply filter capacitors in order to drive transducer-actuated systems. The invention eliminates the need for dc power supply filter capacitors in driving reactive loads thus greatly reducing the peak power handled by the dc power sections. The effective average power requirement to drive such a system becomes very low. The resulting ZNC drive system is extremely compact and low profile. Weighing only a few grams it can deliver drive voltages (V/m) several times in excess of conventional drives - enabling transductive devices to be driven in the higher strain, nonlinear region, which thereby reduces the size requirements of the actuator itself.
The research develops designs and predictive models of thermoplastic matrix devices used to enable isolation for rafted machinery on marine systems. The issue is that in high sea states such isolation devices are subject to large out-of-plane as well as normal forces and these impinge large displacements and torque loads on such mounts. To design a damping augmentation treatment requires that the treatment itself be immune to such large deviations from normal load conditions and be survivable in harsh environmental conditions. The approach we have taken is to refine a successful approach using polymer constrained layer damping in a new design that accommodates such loading conditions.
Several corporations including QorTek and Boeing have both independently proposed variable sweep primary structures for future adaptive airframe structures as to enable miniaturized area dominance munitions and UAVs. Various new vehicle concepts must insert a high power actuator to overcome low speed aerodynamic forces within a limited packaging availability. In order to meet requirements for this and other UAV/UCAV/MMT missions, require a re-thinking on how to accomplish large motor torque/lb (rather than energy/lb) while integrating the speed and torque capability in a small package. The difficulty is highlighted by considering that piezo devices are nicely compact but can only deliver is typically 1-2ft-lb/lb; whereas SMA has potential of being lighter solution and can deliver 100-200 ft-lb/lb but has two problems: slow recovery and large weight penalty for thermal components. Fortunately, some munition applications have relatively modest control surface actuation bandwidth requirements. However, until now, the thermal aspect has been prohibitive. QorTek will present a new SMA-based motor that provides high torque/lb for UAV/UCAV/MMT systems. This unique motor design has eliminated the need for additional power components for thermal excitation (transient heating) of the SMA elements as to accomplish phase transition. The resulting package is the desirable lightweight and compact packaged solution to many air vehicle and munition needs. Moreover, the design eliminates the undesirable "snapping" action associated with SMA phase transition.
UAV's, UCAV's, miniaturized munitions and smart bombs have a variety of objectives clamoring for easement of weight/volume restrictions. These include anti-jam, explosive, servo control, electronics packaging, GPS and other required functions. The possibility of freeing up valuable real estate in the missile itself is most attractive for such applications. QorTek has developed the first self-contained high authority control surface to replace externally activated steering fins or canards. These flight actuation systems require only external control signal and power. Moreover, the technology easily scales to micro munitions. Because of their unique composite structure, these powerful solid-state devices offer exceptional performance in a durable package suitable for miniature munitions. The purpose of this paper is to discuss new breakthroughs in piezo-actuated technology that minimize vol./weight enabling a self-contained flight control actuation system that eliminates the need for servo controls. The presentation will focus on the new design that enables integration into high angular displacement actuation into a graphite epoxy fabricated RALA flight control actuator that can handle the aerodynamic loading conditions.