Conceptual Design and Simulation of a Compact Shape Memory Actuator for Rotary Motion
Abstract This work describes the conceptual design, the modelling, the optimization, the detail design and the virtual testing of a shape memory actuator purposely conceived to maximize torque and angular stroke while limiting overall size and electric consumption. The chosen design, achieved by means of a Quality Function Deployment approach, features a fully modular concept in which an arbitrary number of identical modules are assembled to produce the desired angular stroke and output torque. The basic module contains shape memory springs that actuate the device and also a conventional spring that reduces the torque ripple. Following the concept generation stage, a thermo-electromechanical model is developed and a numerical optimization performed, aimed at minimizing the electrical consumption of the actuator. Finally, the device is designed in detail and the actuator is tested virtually. Thanks to the proposed modular construction and the use of a conventional balancing spring, the device shows better performances than known rotary shape memory actuators in terms of rotation, torque and customization.