Smart Piezoelectric Multi-Degree of Freedom Actuators/Sensors

SPA - CP94-1109

Keywords: piezoelectricity, actuators, sensors, multidegree of freedom

Start Date: 1 March 95 / Duration: 36 months

[ participants / contact]

Objectivies and Approach

The aim of this project is to develop the fundamental methods of research and design of the new class of actuators with several degrees of freedom, based on the use of smart (mainly piezoactive) materials. The research will focus on multi-degree-of-freedom piezoelectric actuators with limited (in case of rigid links) and unlimited (in case of flexible links, e.g. made from piezorubber or PVdF - Polyvinylidene fluoride film) number of degrees of freedom.

Research will concentrate on development of methods to transform high frequency mechanical oscillations into continuous motion using a kinematic pair structure of control methods. The universal dynamic model of an active kinematic pair with controllable number of degrees of freedom will be created, leading to the development of the methods of design, including the selection of piezoactive materials. Experimental investigations will help to determine the most effective field of applications, which include robotics, precision engineering, medicine, optical scanning systems, intelligent mechanisms, etc.

Progress and Results

A significant proportion of the initial period of the project has been spent on establishing the behaviour of actuators relative to different levels of integration, on the transformation of non-harmonic resonant oscillations into continuous and step motion, and on the experimental as to the friction control mechanism in multicomponent mechanical oscillations in the contact zone between active and passive links. The realisation of smart piezoactuators is in sight and several prototype forms have been identified.

Information Dissemination Activities and/or Exploitation

Three full consortia meetings have been held (two in Leicester and one in Bucharest) to discuss the results of the work to date. Several papers have been presented at conferences (including the "Vibration and Noise '95", the "Internationales Wissenschaftliches Kolloquium and Mechatronica '95") and published in journals.

More information can be found at the home page of the SPA project:


De Montfort University
Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
The Gateway
UK-Leicester LE1 9BH, UK

EU Partners

De Montfort University, UK
TransTec plc, UK

Non-EU Partners

Kaunas University of Technology, LT
Precizika, LT
Electronica, RO
University Politechnica Bucharest, RO
Moscow State Technical University, RU


Prof. Jeffrey A.G. Knight
Tel: +44 116 257 7090
Fax: +44 116 257 7099

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SPA - CP94-1109, May 1997

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html version of synopsis by Nick Cook