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Characterization of a Macrofiber Piezoelectric Composite for Lunar Exploration Actuator

[+] Author Affiliations
Isaac A. Henslee, David A. Miller

Montana State University, Bozeman, MT

Paper No. IMECE2010-39194, pp. 439-443; 5 pages
  • ASME 2010 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 9: Mechanics of Solids, Structures and Fluids
  • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, November 12–18, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4446-5
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


Understanding the nature and locations of water and other resources on Earth’s Moon is an essential component to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) space exploration efforts. To aid in these exploration efforts, an investigation into lightweight and reliable materials for a lunar actuator design has lead to characterizing the lifetime performance of the piezoelectric fiber composite, macro fiber composite (MFC). MFC’s are thin rectangular patches made of polyimide film, epoxy and a single layer of rectangular lead zirconium titanate fibers and are commercially available. As a basis for this consideration, the useful life of the MFC is being characterized to determine the effect of temperature on the performance of the material as it is fatigued by piezoelectric excitation. The patch is laminated to a cantilevered stainless steel beam and actuated at the first resonant frequency of the beam and patch laminate. Strain and beam tip displacement measurements are used as a basis for determining the performance of the MFC whichis cyclically actuated under various operating temperatures. The temperature of the beam and patch laminate is held constant during cyclic actuation, to determine the useful life of the piezoelectric patch over a temperature range from −15°C to 145°C. The experimentation efforts show a strong temperature dependence on operational life for the MFC; however, no significant degradation in operational performance was identified before ultimate failure of the MFC, regardless of temperature or actuation cycle. The results of the experimental testing can be used to design actuators using MFC in environments where operational temperatures differ from standard laboratory temperatures.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME



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