Table of Contents
Smart Materials Research
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 832939, 10 pages
Research Article

Solid State Adaptive Rotor Using Postbuckled Precompressed, Bending-Twist Coupled Piezoelectric Actuator Elements

Department of Aerospace Engineering, University of Kansas, 2120 Learned Hall, 1530 W 15th Street, Lawrence, KS 66045-7621 , USA

Received 15 November 2011; Accepted 16 January 2012

Academic Editor: Tao Li

Copyright © 2012 Ronald M. Barrett and Ryan Barnhart. 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.


This paper is centered on a new actuation mechanism which is integrated on a solid state rotor. This paper outlines the application of such a system via a Post-Buckled Precompression (PBP) technique at the end of a twist-active piezoelectric rotor blade actuator. The basic performance of the system is handily modeled by using laminated plate theory techniques. A dual cantilevered spring system was used to increasingly null the passive stiffness of the root actuator along the feathering axis of the rotor blade. As the precompression levels were increased, it was shown that corresponding blade pitch levels also increased. The PBP cantilever spring system was designed so as to provide a high level of stabilizing pitch-flap coupling and inherent resistance to rotor propeller moments. Experimental testing showed pitch deflections increasing from just peak-to-peak deflections at 650 V/mm field strength to more than at the same field strength with design precompression levels. Dynamic testing showed the corner frequency of the linear system coming down from 63 Hz (3.8/rev) to 53 Hz (3.2/rev). Thrust coefficients manipulation levels were shown to increase from 0.01 to 0.028 with increasing precompression levels. The paper concludes with an overall assessment of the actuator design.