An attractive but little explored field of application of the shape memory technology is the area of rotary actuators, in particular for generating endless motion. This paper presents a miniature rotary motor based on SMA wires and overrunning clutches which produces high output torque and unlimited rotation. The concept features a SMA wire tightly wound around a low-friction cylindrical drum to convert wire strains into large rotations within a compact package. The seesaw motion of the drum ensuing from repeated contraction-elongation cycles of the wire is converted into unidirectional motion of the output shaft by an overrunning clutch fitted between drum and shaft. Following a design process developed in a former paper, a six-stage prototype with size envelope of 48×22×30 mm is built and tested. Diverse supply strategy are implemented to optimize either the output torque or the speed regularity of the motor with the following results: maximum torque = 20 Nmm; specific torque = 6.31×10−4 Nmm/mm3; rotation per module = 15 deg; free continuous speed = 4 rpm.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.