Distributed Conformal Actuation with Electroactive Polymer

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA9550-10-C-0054
Agency Tracking Number: F08A-007-0075
Amount: $749,944.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: 2008
Solicitation Topic Code: AF08-T007
Solicitation Number: 2008.A
Small Business Information
303 Bear Hill Road, Waltham, MA, 02451
DUNS: 004627316
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 James Goldie
 Principal Scientist
 (781) 890-1338
Business Contact
 Stephen Mattox
Title: Director, Finance & Contracts
Phone: (781) 890-1338
Email: smattox@infoscitex.com
Research Institution
 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
 Richard E Scammell
 403 West Hall (WEST)
110 Eighth Street
Troy, NY, 12180
 (518) 276-6177
 Nonprofit college or university
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.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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