Galfenol Actuator.

Galfenol Actuator

Working in cooperation with the Naval Surface Warfare Center – Carderock Division (NSWCCD) , ETREMA has designed, built, and tested a Galfenol-based actuator capable of generating a force output while operating under tensile strains up to 0.14% (0.0014 in/in) at 300 Hz. Manufacturing challenges addressed included laser welding of Galfenol laminates and fabricating parts to tight tolerances; ± 0.001” on length and ± 0.0004” on flatness and parallelism over a length of approximately 10 inches.

Two prototype actuators were manufactured and tested under quasi-static and dynamic conditions. Dynamic power requirements included 15-16 amps of DC bias and up to 25-26 amps AC (pk-pk). Two cooling fans were used to provide convection cooling of the Galfenol legs and drive coils during dynamic operation.

The actuators were capable of outputting between 1300 – 1600 lbf based on quasi-static testing. Force outputs were registered up to 0.14% applied tensile strain using 300 Hz tones. The magnitude of the dynamic force output was limited by the matched stiffness between the test cell, an MTS 810 load frame, and the prototype actuators. Attachment of the actuator to stiffer loads will produce larger force outputs and the capability to apply larger tensile strains.

Finished Galfenol actuator

Thermal tests showed that operating at 100% duty cycle at 300 Hz is possible if cooling fans are employed. Without the use of cooling fans 100% duty cycle operation would be limited to frequencies below 150 Hz.

The prototype Galfenol Actuator design has been successfully demonstrated under operating conditions beyond the initial targets; 150 Hz versus 300 Hz. Demonstration of the Galfenol technology in this unique application provides customers with a capability that does not exist with off-the-shelf technologies.

Graph showing the Force output, under increasing tensile strains, at max drive levels.

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