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Vehicle Propulsion by Solid State Motion

[+] Author Affiliations
Lucas Jones, Josh Spahnie, Kevin Lefeave, Charles Haltom, Adam Underwood, Jacob Aber, V. V. N. Sriram Malladi, Bryan S. Joyce, Pablo A. Tarazaga

Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

Paper No. SMASIS2014-7516, pp. V002T04A007; 7 pages
  • ASME 2014 Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems
  • Volume 2: Mechanics and Behavior of Active Materials; Integrated System Design and Implementation; Bioinspired Smart Materials and Systems; Energy Harvesting
  • Newport, Rhode Island, USA, September 8–10, 2014
  • Conference Sponsors: Aerospace Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4615-5
  • Copyright © 2014 by ASME


Traveling waves have shown the potential to transport material and are thus investigated as a propulsion mechanism. Through the use of piezoelectric actuators (PZTs), traveling waves were produced in beams with both free-free and fixed-free boundary conditions. It is shown that traveling waves can be generated by exciting two PZTs at a common frequency with a phase difference between the PZT signals. Experimentation showed the signal that creates the best traveling wave occurs at a driving frequency halfway between adjacent bending resonance frequencies and a phase difference of 90° between both PZTs signals. This has produced traveling waves in fixed-free beams and free-free beams in both air and water as well as for an underwater vehicle. These traveling waves generated useful propulsion in both the fixed-free and free-free beams.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME
Topics: Propulsion , Vehicles



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