by Staff Writers
Malibu CA (SPX) Feb 24, 2016
HRL Laboratories, LLC, has announced that researchers in its Sensors and Materials Laboratory have developed an active variable stiffness vibration isolator capable of 100x stiffness changes and millisecond actuation times, independent of the static load. According to Principal Investigator Christopher Churchill, "This performance surpasses existing mechanisms by at least 20 times in either speed or useful stiffness change."
Churchill says that the human body is home to a range of variable stiffness structures that enable efficient load-bearing and nimble activity.
"The most ubiquitous tunable stiffness structures are our own joints, which use antagonistic muscle contractions to vary joint stiffness continuously," he said. "For example, limbs will stiffen to lift a bowling ball, but soften to paint with the tip of a brush."
Yet these features in the human body are rarely replicated in engineered systems due to the complexity, power, and cost of doing so. Churchill says that the traditional approach - building a soft system and then adding damping and force - is expensive and low-bandwidth.
"We developed a new paradigm, and instead built a stiff system and then softened it," he said. The result is a low-cost and high-bandwidth solution to long-standing challenges.
This breakthrough has broad applications for makers of automobiles, aircraft, watercraft, rotorcraft, and robotics.
"Advanced lightweight materials are increasingly finding their way into transportation platforms to achieve low mass and high stiffness," Churchill said. "Utilizing adaptive negative stiffness to soften stiff systems on demand has the potential to solve shock and vibration problems that only get more difficult with these next-generation platforms."
A video on this research is available here
The HRL research team's findings, "Dynamically Variable Negative Stiffness Structures," will be published in the February 2016 issue of Science Advances.
Space Technology News - Applications and Research
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.|