This experiment is concerned with determining if smart materials such as nickel-titanium wire provide a working alternative to conventional servos in applications such as aircraft control surfaces. This was accomplished by comparing the power used to produce a certain deflection under a certain load, with a secondary objective of finding the relative ease of use of each actuator, such as space and mounting requirements. Power consumption comparisons showed that the Flexinol consumed an inconsistent amount of power that was generally greater than that used by the servo by a factor of more than 25. In addition, it was found that the Flexinol required 30cm of linear space not contacting any other materials to accomplish the same deflections, as well as being less consistent in maintaining said deflections and requiring much more time to change deflections. From these results it was concluded that Flexinol is ill-suited for aerospace control applications.
This research was supported by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP).
Assessing the Viability of Nickel-Titanium ‘Muscle Wire’ for Aerospace Control Applications.
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