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Manufacturing and Mechanics-Based Characterization of Macro Fiber Composite Actuators

[+] Author Affiliations
R. Brett Williams, Daniel J. Inman

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA

Brian W. Grimsley, W. Keats Wilkie

NASA Langley Research Center, Langley, VA

Paper No. IMECE2002-39005, pp. 79-89; 11 pages
  • ASME 2002 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Adaptive Structures and Materials Systems
  • New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, November 17–22, 2002
  • Conference Sponsors: Aerospace Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3625-8 | eISBN: 0-7918-1691-5, 0-7918-1692-3, 0-7918-1693-1
  • Copyright © 2002 by ASME


The use of piezoelectric ceramic materials for structural actuation is a fairly well developed practice that has found use in a wide variety of applications. However, just as advanced composites offer many benefits over traditional engineering materials for structural design, actuators that utilize the active properties of piezoelectric fibers can improve upon many of the limitations encountered with monolithic piezoceramic devices used to control structural dynamics. This paper discusses the Macro Fiber Composite (MFC) actuator, which utilizes piezoceramic fibers, for example, lead zirconate titanate (PZT), embedded in an epoxy matrix for structural actuation. An overview of the MFC assembly process is presented, followed by a cure kinetics model that describes the behavior of the thermosetting matrix. This empirical model is seen to agree closely with the experimental data. Lastly, a hybrid classical lamination theory is developed to predict the linear elastic properties of the MFC package as a function of the PZT fiber lamination angle.

Copyright © 2002 by ASME



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