Multi-purpose Rotary and Linear Actuators

Rotary piezo-electric actuator

Piezo-electric motors have been successfully developed for various applications like autofocus drives in camera lenses and handling equipment for semiconductor production. Their high speed and accurate positioning capability, combined with a favourable holding torque in unpowered condition, make piezo motors also very attractive for actuation purposes in spacecraft mechanisms. However, so far only a few studies have been reported considering their suitability for actual use in space.

Piezo motors use a combination of piezo-electric and friction forces to generate a progressive motion of an output element. Such output motion can be a linear translation or a rotation in accordance with the actuation requirements of a particular application. Since piezo motors rely on friction at a controlled mechanical contact interface, the related tribology in vacuum and under varying temperature conditions is of critical importance for the function and operational lifetime of such motors.

Last update: 20 December 2010

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