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Smart Structures and Systems
  Volume 7, Number 1, January 2011, pages 1-13
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12989/sss.2011.7.1.001
 


Design and control of a proof-of-concept active jet engine intake using shape memory alloy actuators
Gangbing Song, Ning Ma, Luyu Li, Nick Penney, Todd Barr, Ho-Jun Lee and Steve Arnold

 
Abstract
    It has been shown in the literature that active adjustment of the intake area of a jet engine has potential to improve its fuel efficiency. This paper presents the design and control of a novel proof-of-concept active jet engine intake using Nickel-Titanium (Ni-Ti or Nitinol) shape memory alloy (SMA) wire actuators.The Nitinol SMA material is used in this research due to its advantages of high power-to-weight ratio and electrical resistive actuation. The Nitinol SMA material can be fabricated into a variety of shapes, such as strips, foils, rods and wires. In this paper, SMA wires are used due to its ability to generate a large strain: up to 6% for repeated operations. The proposed proof-of-concept engine intake employs overlapping leaves in a concentric configuration. Each leaf is mounted on a supporting bar than can rotate. The supporting bars are actuated by an SMA wire actuator in a ring configuration. Electrical resistive heating is used to actuate the SMA wire actuator and rotate the supporting bars. To enable feedback control, a laser range sensor is used to detect the movement of a leaf and therefore the radius of the intake area. Due to the hysteresis, an inherent nonlinear phenomenon associated with SMAs, a nonlinear robust controller is used to control the SMA actuators. The control design uses the sliding-mode approach and can compensate the nonlinearities associated with the SMA actuator. A proof-of-concept model is fabricated and its feedback control experiments show that the intake area can be precisely controlled using the SMA wire actuator and has the ability to reduce the area up to 25%. The experiments demonstrate the feasibility of engine intake area control using an SMA wire actuator under the proposed design.
 
Key Words
    shape memory alloy wire; Nitinol; jet engine intake; sliding mode control.
 
Address
Gangbing Song: Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Houston, N207 Engineering Building 1,Houston, TX 77204-4006, USA
Ning Ma: Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Houston, N207 Engineering Building 1,Houston, TX 77204-4006, USA
Luyu Li: Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Houston, N207 Engineering Building 1,Houston, TX 77204-4006, USA
Nick Penney: Ohio Aerospace Institute (OAI), 22800 Cedar Point Road, Cleveland, OH 44142, USA
Todd Barr: Jackson & Tull Aerospace Division, Cleveland, OH 44135, USA
Ho-Jun Lee: NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, USA
Steve Arnold: NASA Glenn Research Center, 21000 Brookpark Road, Cleveland, OH 44135, USA
 

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