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Distributed Conformal Actuation with Electroactive Polymer

Award Information

Department of Defense
Air Force
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2010 / STTR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
AF 08T007
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Infoscitex Corporation
303 Bear Hill Road Waltham, MA -
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 2
Fiscal Year: 2010
Title: Distributed Conformal Actuation with Electroactive Polymer
Agency / Branch: DOD / USAF
Contract: FA9550-10-C-0054
Award Amount: $749,944.00


Application of electroactive polymer (EAP) for flow control at the low Reynolds number values typical of Micro Air Vehicles is proposed. EAP offers (1) distributed actuation, (2) easy conformance to the shape of an airfoil, (3) high spatial and temporal bandwidths, and (4) the ability to both deliver and harvest energy from the flow field. Phase I included design, manufacture, and integration of EAP actuators into a wind tunnel test article. At appropriate frequencies a substantial reduction of the laminar separation bubble size was observed. Phase II will employ both experimental and computational efforts to identify EAP-based flow control strategies that result in desirable integral properties, i.e., maximal lift, lift-to-drag ratio and minimal drag. For our experiments stereo PIV measurements; static and dynamic surface pressure measurements; direct integral aerodynamic measurements; and flow visualization will be employed, whereas the computational efforts will rely on CFD simulation. In order to perform the experiments and demonstrate feasibility, we will undertake critical engineering issues: optimization of the EAP polymer, manufacture of EAP flow control actuators with spatially-selective control of the actuator cells, and demonstrate that electronics can meet the power and energy requirements within the very limited size and weight budgets of MAVs. BENEFIT: Distributed surface actuation with electro-active polymer for the purposes of managing the boundary layer can improve the range and endurance of proposed small UAVs and may ultimately represent a means to reduce drag and delay stall in commercial and military aircraft. Future applications for EAP distributed surface actuation include reduction in hydrodynamic drag on vessels, reduced frictional losses in pipes, and hull surfaces for improved stealth for ships and submarines.

Principal Investigator:

James Goldie
Principal Scientist

Business Contact:

Stephen Mattox
Director, Finance & Contracts
Small Business Information at Submission:

Infoscitex Corporation
303 Bear Hill Road Waltham, MA 02451

EIN/Tax ID: 043537120
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Research Institution Information:
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
403 West Hall (WEST)
110 Eighth Street
Troy, NY 12180
Contact: Richard E. Scammell
Contact Phone: 5182766177