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Bowden Tube NiTi Actuators With Linear Parameter Varying Model and Sliding Mode Control

[+] Author Affiliations
Austin Gurley, Kyle Kubik, Tyler Ross Lambert, David Beale, Royall Broughton

Auburn University, Auburn, AL

Paper No. SMASIS2017-3989, pp. V002T03A038; 8 pages
  • ASME 2017 Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems
  • Volume 2: Modeling, Simulation and Control of Adaptive Systems; Integrated System Design and Implementation; Structural Health Monitoring
  • Snowbird, Utah, USA, September 18–20, 2017
  • Conference Sponsors: Aerospace Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5826-4
  • Copyright © 2017 by ASME


One of the primary difficulties to implementing NiTi shape memory alloys as robotic actuators is reliably amplifying their low linear strain to large effective displacements. Bowden tubes, called “push-pull cables” in other industries, allow a long length of Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) wire to fit in a small space; this provides a method for increasing effective SMA actuator strain without compromising space or complexity of the entire mechanism. The mechanical advantage of the Bowden tube provides faster actuation speeds, but comes at a cost of increased thermal capacitance resulting in higher power consumption. A feedback control system has been formed comprising the Bowden tube actuator, a rotary platform, and a microcontroller. The controller heats the SMA by passing current through the SMA wire using pulse-width-modulation. After describing the creation of the electro-mechanical system, its capabilities and limitations are discussed. Linear Parameter Varying (LPV) models of SMA are used to determine the range of characteristics the inherently nonlinear SMA system will exhibit. A sliding mode controller is designed based on these characteristics, and implemented in the prototype. Sliding-mode control is shown to be a powerful tool for SMA control even when system parameters are uncertain.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME



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