Shape Control of a FRP Airfoil Structure Using SMA-Actuators and Optical Fiber Sensors

  • Ruotsalainen P
  • Kroneld P
  • Nevala K
 et al. 
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The aim of this work was to design a control system for the shape memory alloy (SMA) actuator operated airfoil (a cross section of wind turbine blade). Design of SMA control is focused on the reliable operation of the SMA actuators. The actuator should follow the targeted shape accurately and without too much delay. Another objective is to avoid overheating which is the most critical damage to the structure. SMA actuator shape control is in principle possible to do with any position control method, but the specific properties of the SMA actuators, like the hysteresis, the first cycle effect and the long term changes, need to be taken into account. In this work, a wing profile prototype was measured using optical fiber sensors and traditional strain gauges. Also, external laser sensors were used to measure displacements of upper/lower surface and trailing edge. Shape change was obtained by embedding SMA wire actuators into fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composite structure. SMA actuators were laminated in such way that bending of trailing edge is always downwards. Actuators are activated with Joule heating and the temperature is measured with integrated thermocouples and optical fiber temperature sensors. As a result, this work gave information about the usability of optical fibers sensors in active FRP composite structures. Measurements also give information about the efficiency of SMA actuators in shape control of relatively stiff FRP structures.

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  • Pasi Ruotsalainen

  • Petter Kroneld

  • Kalervo Nevala

  • Timo Brander

  • Tomi Lindroos

  • Merja Sippola

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