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Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 2013, Article ID 303967, 10 pages
Research Article

Formulation and Validation of Multidisciplinary Design Problem on Wear and Fatigue Life of Lead Screw Actuators

Department of Engineering, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne, IN 46805, USA

Received 16 February 2013; Accepted 27 March 2013

Academic Editor: Dan Zhang

Copyright © 2013 Krishna Meruva et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Multidisciplinary design optimization has been widely applied in the optimization of large-scale complex system and also in the design and optimization of components, which are involved in multidisciplinary behaviors. The wear and fatigue life of lead screw actuators is a typical multidisciplinary problem. The wear behaviors of actuators closely relate to many factors such as loads, lubrications, materials properties, surface properties, pressures, and temperature. Therefore, the wear and fatigue life of actuators cannot be modeled without a simultaneous consideration of solid mechanics, fluid dynamics, contact mechanics, and thermal dynamics. In this paper, the wear and fatigue life of a lead screw actuator is modeled and validated. Firstly, the theory of asperity contact and Archard’s model of sliding wear are applied to estimate the amount of wear under certain circumstances. Secondly, a test platform is developed based on a standard ASTM test protocol, and the wear phenomenon at the ball-on-flat sliding is measured to validate the developed wear model. Thirdly, finite element analysis is conducted using Nastran to assess the contact stresses in the lead screw and nut assembly model. The estimated data from the three sources are finally merged to formulate a mathematical model in predicting the wear and fatigue life for the optimization of lead screw actuators.