Next Issue
Volume 10, June
Previous Issue
Volume 10, April

Actuators, Volume 10, Issue 5 (May 2021) – 20 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Pellet-based fused deposition modeling (FDM) is a method of extrusion-based additive manufactur-ing that allows one to fabricate structures, using thermoplastic elastomers of low-shore hardness. Multi-material pellet-based FDM was used to fabricate a soft pneumatic actuator with an integrated piezore-sistive sensing element. For the body of the actuator, a thermoplastic elastomer of Shore hardness 18A was used. The sensing element allowed for the monitoring of the bending angle of the pneumatic actua-tor and showed a reverse piezoresistive monotonic response. The total time required for the fabrication process was 3 hours, showing the potential of pellet-based FDM as a time and cost-efficient alternative to the conventional casting methods. View this pa-per.
  • Issues are regarded as officially published after their release is announced to the table of contents alert mailing list.
  • You may sign up for e-mail alerts to receive table of contents of newly released issues.
  • PDF is the official format for papers published in both, html and pdf forms. To view the papers in pdf format, click on the "PDF Full-text" link, and use the free Adobe Readerexternal link to open them.
Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:
Article
A Study on Vision-Based Backstepping Control for a Target Tracking System
Actuators 2021, 10(5), 105; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/act10050105 - 19 May 2021
Viewed by 598
Abstract
This paper proposes a new method to control the pose of a camera mounted on a two-axis gimbal system for visual servoing applications. In these applications, the camera should be stable while its line-of-sight points at a target located within the camera’s field [...] Read more.
This paper proposes a new method to control the pose of a camera mounted on a two-axis gimbal system for visual servoing applications. In these applications, the camera should be stable while its line-of-sight points at a target located within the camera’s field of view. One of the most challenging aspects of these systems is the coupling in the gimbal kinematics as well as the imaging geometry. Such factors must be considered in the control system design process to achieve better control performances. The novelty of this study is that the couplings in both mechanism’s kinematics and imaging geometry are decoupled simultaneously by a new technique, so popular control methods can be easily implemented, and good tracking performances are obtained. The proposed control configuration includes a calculation of the gimbal’s desired motion taking into account the coupling influence, and a control law derived by the backstepping procedure. Simulation and experimental studies were conducted, and their results validate the efficiency of the proposed control system. Moreover, comparison studies are conducted between the proposed control scheme, the image-based pointing control, and the decoupled control. This proves the superiority of the proposed approach that requires fewer measurements and results in smoother transient responses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Visual Servoing of Mobile Robots)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Dynamic Performance Analysis of a Compact Annular-Radial-Orifice Flow Magnetorheological Valve and Its Application in the Valve Controlled Cylinder System
Actuators 2021, 10(5), 104; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/act10050104 - 17 May 2021
Viewed by 482
Abstract
A compact annular-radial-orifice flow magnetorheological (MR) valve with variable radial damping gaps was proposed, and its structure and working principle were also described. Firstly, a mathematical model of pressure drop was established as well to evaluate the dynamic performance of the proposed MR [...] Read more.
A compact annular-radial-orifice flow magnetorheological (MR) valve with variable radial damping gaps was proposed, and its structure and working principle were also described. Firstly, a mathematical model of pressure drop was established as well to evaluate the dynamic performance of the proposed MR valve. Sequentially, the pressure drop distribution of the MR valve in each flow channel was simulated and analyzed based on the average magnetic flux densities and yield stress along the damping gaps through finite element method. Further, the experimental test rig was setup to explore the pressure drop performance and the response characteristic of the MR valve and to investigate dynamic performance of the valve controlled cylinder system under different radial damping gaps. The experimental results revealed that the pressure drop and response time of the MR valve augment significantly with the increase of applied current and decrease of the radial damping gap. In addition, the damping force of the proposed MR valve controlled cylinder system decrease with the increase of the radial damping gap. The maximum damping force can reach about 4.72 kN at the applied current of 2 A and the radial damping gap of 0.5 mm. Meanwhile, the minimum damping force can reach about 0.67 kN at the applied current of 0 A and the radial damping gap of 1.5 mm. This study clearly demonstrates that the radial damping gap of the MR valve is the key parameter which directly affects the dynamic characteristics of the valve controlled cylinder system, and the proposed MR valve can meet the requirements of different working conditions by changing the radial damping gaps. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Actuators for Land Transport)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
A Pneumatic Generator Based on Gas-Liquid Reversible Transition for Soft Robots
Actuators 2021, 10(5), 103; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/act10050103 - 13 May 2021
Viewed by 555
Abstract
The soft robots actuated by pressure, cables, thermal, electrosorption, combustion and smart materials are usually faced with the problems of poor portability, noise, weak load capacity, small deformation and high driving voltages. In this paper, a novel pneumatic generator for soft robots based [...] Read more.
The soft robots actuated by pressure, cables, thermal, electrosorption, combustion and smart materials are usually faced with the problems of poor portability, noise, weak load capacity, small deformation and high driving voltages. In this paper, a novel pneumatic generator for soft robots based on the gas-liquid reversible transition is proposed, which has the advantages of large output force, easy deformation, strong load capacity and high flexibility. The pressure of the pneumatic generator surges or drops flexibly through the reversible transformation between liquid and gas phase, making the soft actuator stretch or contract regularly, without external motors, compressors and pressure-regulating components. The gas-liquid reversible-transition actuation process is modeled to analyze its working mechanism and characteristics. The pressure during the pressurization stage increases linearly with a rate regulated by the heating power and gas volume. It decreases exponentially with the exponential term as a quadratic function of time at the fast depressurization stage, while with the exponential term as a linear function of time at the slow depressurization stage. The drop rate can be adjusted by changing the gas volume and cooling conditions. Furthermore, effectiveness has been verified through experiments of the prototype. The pressure reaches 25 bar with a rising rate of +3.935 bar/s when 5 mL weak electrolyte solution is heated at 800 W, and the maximum depressurization rate in air cooling is –3.796 bar/s. The soft finger actuated by the pneumatic generator can bend with an angular displacement of 67.5°. The proposed pneumatic generator shows great potential to be used for the structure, driving and sensing integration of artificial muscles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Actuators for Robotics)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Reliability Evaluation for Cable-Spring Folding Wing Considering Synchronization of Deployable Mechanism
Actuators 2021, 10(5), 99; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/act10050099 - 10 May 2021
Viewed by 494
Abstract
The cable-spring folding wing is a novel type of rigid-flexible coupling structure for missiles, which is composed of several sets of deployable mechanisms, with each composed of a wheel-rope transmission system and a parallel spring driving mechanism. The movement of the cable is [...] Read more.
The cable-spring folding wing is a novel type of rigid-flexible coupling structure for missiles, which is composed of several sets of deployable mechanisms, with each composed of a wheel-rope transmission system and a parallel spring driving mechanism. The movement of the cable is initiated by the driving force produced by parallel springs, which directly changes the magnitude and the distribution of the driving force. Therefore, the cable-spring folding wing system has the typical characteristics of strong nonlinearity and motion coupling. In addition, each deployable mechanism shares an identical structure, but the distribution of motion parameters is discrepant due to external loads. Asynchronous movement of the cable-spring folding wing will occur and become a significant issue, which is detrimental to the working performance and could even lead to failure. Focusing on these problems, the multi-body dynamics theoretical model and simulation model of deployable mechanism are established, the kinematic and dynamic characteristics of critical components are studied, and the key factors affecting the deployment performance are investigated. A new reliability method with an angular precision control for deployable mechanism is proposed based on the theoretical model. The effectiveness of the proposed model and method is verified by comparing it with the Monte Carlo method. On this basis, the reliability evaluation for cable-spring folding wing, comprehensively considering deployment performance and synchronization, is carried out. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
A Sensorized Soft Pneumatic Actuator Fabricated with Extrusion-Based Additive Manufacturing
Actuators 2021, 10(5), 102; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/act10050102 - 10 May 2021
Viewed by 843
Abstract
Soft pneumatic actuators with a channel network (pneu-net) based on thermoplastic elastomers are compatible with fused deposition modeling (FDM). However, conventional filament-based fused deposition modeling (FDM) printers are not well suited for thermoplastic elastomers with a shore hardness (Sh < 70A). Therefore, in [...] Read more.
Soft pneumatic actuators with a channel network (pneu-net) based on thermoplastic elastomers are compatible with fused deposition modeling (FDM). However, conventional filament-based fused deposition modeling (FDM) printers are not well suited for thermoplastic elastomers with a shore hardness (Sh < 70A). Therefore, in this study, a pellet-based FDM printer was used to print pneumatic actuators with a shore hardness of Sh18A. Additionally, the method allowed the in situ integration of soft piezoresistive sensing elements during the fabrication. The integrated piezoresistive elements were based on conductive composites made of three different styrene-ethylene-butylene-styrene (SEBS) thermoplastic elastomers, each with a carbon black (CB) filler with a ratio of 1:1. The best sensor behavior was achieved by the SEBS material with a shore hardness of Sh50A. The dynamic and quasi-static sensor behavior were investigated on SEBS strips with integrated piezoresistive sensor composite material, and the results were compared with TPU strips from a previous study. Finally, the piezoresistive composite was used for the FDM printing of soft pneumatic actuators with a shore hardness of 18 A. It is worth mentioning that 3 h were needed for the fabrication of the soft pneumatic actuator with an integrated strain sensing element. In comparison to classical mold casting method, this is faster, since curing post-processing is not required and will help the industrialization of pneumatic actuator-based soft robotics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 3D Printable Soft Robotics and Soft Actuators)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
A Review of Piezoelectric Material-Based Structural Control and Health Monitoring Techniques for Engineering Structures: Challenges and Opportunities
Actuators 2021, 10(5), 101; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/act10050101 - 10 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 701
Abstract
With the breadth of applications and analysis performed over the last few decades, it would not be an exaggeration to call piezoelectric materials “the top of the crop” of smart materials. Piezoelectric materials have emerged as the most researched materials for practical applications [...] Read more.
With the breadth of applications and analysis performed over the last few decades, it would not be an exaggeration to call piezoelectric materials “the top of the crop” of smart materials. Piezoelectric materials have emerged as the most researched materials for practical applications among the numerous smart materials. They owe it to a few main reasons, including low cost, high bandwidth of service, availability in a variety of formats, and ease of handling and execution. Several authors have used piezoelectric materials as sensors and actuators to effectively control structural vibrations, noise, and active control, as well as for structural health monitoring, over the last three decades. These studies cover a wide range of engineering disciplines, from vast space systems to aerospace, automotive, civil, and biomedical engineering. Therefore, in this review, a study has been reported on piezoelectric materials and their advantages in engineering fields with fundamental modeling and applications. Next, the new approaches and hypotheses suggested by different scholars are also explored for control/repair methods and the structural health monitoring of engineering structures. Lastly, the challenges and opportunities has been discussed based on the exhaustive literature studies for future work. As a result, this review can serve as a guideline for the researchers who want to use piezoelectric materials for engineering structures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vibration Control and Structure Health Monitoring)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Pneumatic Artificial Muscle Based on Novel Winding Method
Actuators 2021, 10(5), 100; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/act10050100 - 10 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 577
Abstract
This paper proposes a pneumatic artificial muscle based on a novel winding method. By this method, the inflation of silicone tubes is transformed to the contraction of muscle, whereas the expansion keeps on one side of the muscle, i.e., the expansion of the [...] Read more.
This paper proposes a pneumatic artificial muscle based on a novel winding method. By this method, the inflation of silicone tubes is transformed to the contraction of muscle, whereas the expansion keeps on one side of the muscle, i.e., the expansion of the actuator does not affect the object close to it. Hence the muscle is great for wearable robots without squeezing on the user’s skin. Through necessary simplification, the contraction ratio model and force model are proposed and verified by experiments. The prototype of this paper has a maximum contraction ratio of 35.8% and a maximum output force of 12.24 N with only 5 mm thickness. The high compatibility proves it excellent to be the alternative for wearable robots. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Actuators on Soft Exoskeletons)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Factors Affecting the Dependency of Shear Strain of LRB and SHDR: Experimental Study
Actuators 2021, 10(5), 98; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/act10050098 - 07 May 2021
Viewed by 465
Abstract
In this research we conducted a sensitivity experimental study where we explored the dependency of the shear strain on the seismic properties of bearings, namely lead rubber bearing (LRB) and super high damping rubber bearing (SHDR). The factors studied were vertical pressure, temperature, [...] Read more.
In this research we conducted a sensitivity experimental study where we explored the dependency of the shear strain on the seismic properties of bearings, namely lead rubber bearing (LRB) and super high damping rubber bearing (SHDR). The factors studied were vertical pressure, temperature, shear modulus of the inner rubber (G value), loading frequency, and loading sequence. Six specimens were adopted, i.e., three LRBs and three SHDR bearings. A series of test plans were designed. The seismic characteristics of the bearings were captured through a cyclic loading test, which included post-yield stiffness, characteristic strength, area of a single cycle of the hysteretic loop, equivalent stiffness, and equivalent damping ratio. A whole analysis of variances was then conducted. At the same time, to explore certain phenomena caused by the factors, an extended discussion was carried out. Test results showed that the temperature is the most dominant feature, whereas the G value is the least contributing factor, with the effect of the loading frequency and the loading sequence found between these two. The increment of the post-yielded stiffness for LRB from 100% to 25% is a significant reduction from a low temperature to high one. The slope of the characteristic strength versus the shear strain for LRB under high temperature is larger than the one under low temperature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vibration Control and Structure Health Monitoring)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
A Non-Linear Continuous-Time Generalized Predictive Control for a Planar Cable-Driven Parallel Robot
Actuators 2021, 10(5), 97; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/act10050097 - 04 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 562
Abstract
This paper addresses a novel nonlinear algorithm for the trajectory tracking of a planar cable-driven parallel robot. In particular, we outline a nonlinear continuous-time generalized predictive control (NCGPC). The proposed controller design is based on the finite horizon continuous-time minimization of a quadratic [...] Read more.
This paper addresses a novel nonlinear algorithm for the trajectory tracking of a planar cable-driven parallel robot. In particular, we outline a nonlinear continuous-time generalized predictive control (NCGPC). The proposed controller design is based on the finite horizon continuous-time minimization of a quadratic predicted cost function. The tracking error in the receding horizon is approximated using a Taylor-series expansion. The main advantage of the proposed NCGPC is based on using an analytic solution, which can be truncated to a desired degree of order of the Taylor-series. This allows us to achieve a prediction horizon of NCGPC tracking performance. The description of the proposed NCGPC method is followed by a comparison between NCGPC and a conventional computed torque control (CTC) method. Robustness tests are performed by considering payload and parameter uncertainties for both controllers. Simulation results of NCGPC compared to the commonly used CTC prove the effectiveness and advantages of the proposed approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Robots: Design, Control and Application)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Five-Fingered Passive Force Feedback Glove Using a Variable Ratio Lever Mechanism
Actuators 2021, 10(5), 96; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/act10050096 - 01 May 2021
Viewed by 603
Abstract
Force feedback gloves allow users to touch and manipulate virtual objects intuitively. Compared with gloves providing active feedback force, gloves with passive feedback force are promising in terms of safety and low weight, but simulating the variable stiffness of virtual objects is more [...] Read more.
Force feedback gloves allow users to touch and manipulate virtual objects intuitively. Compared with gloves providing active feedback force, gloves with passive feedback force are promising in terms of safety and low weight, but simulating the variable stiffness of virtual objects is more challenging. Addressing this difficulty, we propose a five-fingered glove with passive force feedback employing a variable ratio lever mechanism. The stiffness of the proposed glove is tuned by changing the structural stiffness of this mechanism rather than by applying torque control at each joint of the finger. The switch between free and constrained space is realized in real time by locking/unlocking the revolute joints of the glove using a servo motor. Furthermore, a predictive control mode is proposed to reduce the response time of the control system, and the actual response time is less than the limit of the delay (45 ms) that humans can perceive between visual and haptic stimuli. Experimental results show that the linear stiffness at the fingertip ranges from 0.89 to 619.89 N/m, and the maximum backdrive force of the proposed glove is less than 0.147 N. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Actuators for Robotics)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Design and Modeling of a Bio-Inspired Flexible Joint Actuator
Actuators 2021, 10(5), 95; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/act10050095 - 30 Apr 2021
Viewed by 545
Abstract
Spiders rely on a hydraulic system to stretch their legs but use muscles to make their legs flex. The compound drive of hydraulics and muscle makes an integrate dexterous structure with powerful locomotion abilities, which perfectly meets the primary requirements of advanced robots. [...] Read more.
Spiders rely on a hydraulic system to stretch their legs but use muscles to make their legs flex. The compound drive of hydraulics and muscle makes an integrate dexterous structure with powerful locomotion abilities, which perfectly meets the primary requirements of advanced robots. Inspired by this hydraulics-muscle co-drive joint, a novel flexible joint actuator was proposed and its driving characteristics were preliminarily explored. The bio-inspired flexible joint manifested as a double-constrained balloon actuator, which was fabricated by the composite process of 3D printing and casting. To evaluate its performance, the mathematical model was deduced, as well as the finite element analysis (FEA) model. A series of experiments on the rotation angles, driving forces, and efficiencies of the flexible joint were carried out and compared with the mathematical calculations and FEA simulations. The results show that the accuracy of the two theoretical models can be used to assess the joint actuator. The locomotion test of a soft arthropod robot with two flexible joints was also implemented, where the moving speed reached 22 mm/s and the feasibility of the proposed flexible joint applied to a soft robot was demonstrated. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Machine-Knitted Seamless Pneumatic Actuators for Soft Robotics: Design, Fabrication, and Characterization
Actuators 2021, 10(5), 94; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/act10050094 - 30 Apr 2021
Viewed by 853
Abstract
Computerized machine knitting offers an attractive fabrication technology for incorporating wearable assistive devices into garments. In this work, we utilized, for the first time, whole-garment knitting techniques to manufacture a seamless fully knitted pneumatic bending actuator, which represents an advancement to existing cut-and-sew [...] Read more.
Computerized machine knitting offers an attractive fabrication technology for incorporating wearable assistive devices into garments. In this work, we utilized, for the first time, whole-garment knitting techniques to manufacture a seamless fully knitted pneumatic bending actuator, which represents an advancement to existing cut-and-sew manufacturing techniques. Various machine knitting parameters were investigated to create anisotropic actuator structures, which exhibited a range of bending and extension motions when pressurized with air. The functionality of the actuator was demonstrated through integration into an assistive glove for hand grip action. The achieved curvature range when pressurizing the actuators up to 150 kPa was sufficient to grasp objects down to 3 cm in diameter and up to 125 g in weight. This manufacturing technique is rapid and scalable, paving the way for mass-production of customizable soft robotics wearables. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pneumatic Actuators for Robotics and Automation)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Angle Magnetization Rotation Method for Characterizing Co-Rich Amorphous Ferromagnetic Microwires
Actuators 2021, 10(5), 93; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/act10050093 - 29 Apr 2021
Viewed by 433
Abstract
A low-frequency model of the magnetization reversal of a microwire is developed for those cases when the microwire magnetization response can go beyond the linear approximation. The analysis of the influence of external magnetic fields on the process of magnetization reversal of the [...] Read more.
A low-frequency model of the magnetization reversal of a microwire is developed for those cases when the microwire magnetization response can go beyond the linear approximation. The analysis of the influence of external magnetic fields on the process of magnetization reversal of the microwire, including the hysteresis mode, was performed. The characteristic dependences of the amplitude of the electromotive force, U2f, arising in the pick-up coil wound around the microwire are obtained. It was established that, in the region of relatively small-acting circular and longitudinal magnetic fields, the U2f signal could have a region with the opposite sign. An extended small-angle magnetization rotation method was used to verify the proposed model and test glass-coated, amorphous, Co-rich microwires. During the experiments, the amplitude of the second harmonic, U2f, arising in the pick-up coil when an alternating electric current with the frequency f flows through the microwire, was measured as a function of the applied longitudinal magnetic field at various mechanical tensile stresses. The effective anisotropy field, the magnetostriction constant, and the residual quenching stress of the investigated microwires were determined by comparing the theoretical and experimental data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Magnetic Sensors and Actuators)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Fuzzy Supervisory Passivity-Based High Order-Sliding Mode Control Approach for Tidal Turbine-Based Permanent Magnet Synchronous Generator Conversion System
Actuators 2021, 10(5), 92; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/act10050092 - 27 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 566
Abstract
Higher efficiency, predictability, and high-power density are the main advantages of a permanent magnet synchronous generator (PMSG)-based hydro turbine. However, the control of a PMSG is a nontrivial issue, because of its time-varying parameters and nonlinear dynamics. This paper suggests a novel optimal [...] Read more.
Higher efficiency, predictability, and high-power density are the main advantages of a permanent magnet synchronous generator (PMSG)-based hydro turbine. However, the control of a PMSG is a nontrivial issue, because of its time-varying parameters and nonlinear dynamics. This paper suggests a novel optimal fuzzy supervisor passivity-based high order sliding-mode controller to address problems faced by conventional techniques such as PI controls in the machine side. An inherent advantage of the proposed method is that the nonlinear terms are not canceled but compensated in a damped way. The proposed controller consists of two main parts: the fuzzy gain supervisor-PI controller to design the desired dynamic of the system by controlling the rotor speed, and the fuzzy gain-high order sliding-mode control to compute the controller law. The main objectives are feeding the electrical grid with active power, extracting the maximum tidal power, and regulating the reactive power and DC voltage toward their references, whatever the disturbances caused by the PMSG. The main contribution and novelty of the present work consists in the new robust fuzzy supervisory passivity-based high order sliding-mode controller, which treats the mechanical characteristics of the PMSG as a passive disturbance when designing the controller and compensates it. By doing so, the PMSG tracks the optimal speed, contrary to other controls which only take into account the electrical part. The combined high order sliding-mode controller (HSMC) and passivity-based control (PBC) resulted in a hybrid controller law which attempts to greatly enhance the robustness of the proposed approach regardless of various uncertainties. Moreover, the proposed controller was also validated using a processor in the loop (PIL) experiment using Texas Instruments (TI) Launchpad. The control strategy was tested under parameter variations and its performances were compared to the nonlinear control methods. High robustness and high efficiency were clearly illustrated by the proposed new strategy over compared methods under parameter uncertainties using MATLAB/Simulink and a PIL testing platform. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Control Systems)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Communication
Relationship Prediction Based on Graph Model for Steam Turbine Control Valve
Actuators 2021, 10(5), 91; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/act10050091 - 27 Apr 2021
Viewed by 497
Abstract
The control valve is an important piece of equipment in the steam turbine, which frequently suffers from the fault of the dead zone. The graph model is a promising method for dead zone detection, yet establishing an accurate and completed graph topology is [...] Read more.
The control valve is an important piece of equipment in the steam turbine, which frequently suffers from the fault of the dead zone. The graph model is a promising method for dead zone detection, yet establishing an accurate and completed graph topology is not an easy task due to limited mechanism knowledge. Hence, a graph model is proposed to predict the links in the graph and estimate the relationship between variables of related equipment of the control valve. The graph convolution is conducted on the uncompleted graph to learn the low-level representations of the graph nodes, and the score function is used to evaluate the probability of the existence of links between a pair of graph nodes. Results demonstrate a test accuracy of 99.2% for the link prediction, and follow the principles of thermodynamics in the steam turbine. Consequently, the proposed graph model is capable of estimating the relationships for the steam turbine control valve, and other inter-connected industrial systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Actuators for Manufacturing Systems)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Adaptive Cruise Control System Evaluation According to Human Driving Behavior Characteristics
Actuators 2021, 10(5), 90; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/act10050090 - 27 Apr 2021
Viewed by 550
Abstract
With the rapid and wide implementation of adaptive cruise control system (ACC), the testing and evaluation method becomes an important question. Based on the human driver behavior characteristics extracted from naturalistic driving studies (NDS), this paper proposed the testing and evaluation method for [...] Read more.
With the rapid and wide implementation of adaptive cruise control system (ACC), the testing and evaluation method becomes an important question. Based on the human driver behavior characteristics extracted from naturalistic driving studies (NDS), this paper proposed the testing and evaluation method for ACC systems, which considers safety and human-like at the same time. Firstly, usage scenarios of ACC systems are defined and test scenarios are extracted and categorized as safety test scenarios and human-like test scenarios according to the collision likelihood. Then, the characteristic of human driving behavior is analyzed in terms of time to collision and acceleration distribution extracted from NDS. According to the dynamic parameters distribution probability, the driving behavior is divided into safe, critical, and dangerous behavior regarding safety and aggressive and normal behavior regarding human-like according to different quantiles. Then, the baselines for evaluation are designed and the weights of different scenarios are determined according to exposure frequency, resulting in a comprehensive evaluation method. Finally, an ACC system is tested in the selected test scenarios and evaluated with the proposed method. The tested vehicle finally got a safety score of 0.9496 (full score: 1) and a human-like score as fail. The results revealed the tested vehicle has a remarkably different driving pattern to human drivers, which may lead to uncomfortable ride experience and user-distrust of the system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Actuators for Intelligent Electric Vehicles)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Road Roughness Estimation Based on the Vehicle Frequency Response Function
Actuators 2021, 10(5), 89; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/act10050089 - 26 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 533
Abstract
Road roughness is an important factor in road network maintenance and ride quality. This paper proposes a road-roughness estimation method using the frequency response function (FRF) of a vehicle. First, based on the motion equation of the vehicle and the time shift property [...] Read more.
Road roughness is an important factor in road network maintenance and ride quality. This paper proposes a road-roughness estimation method using the frequency response function (FRF) of a vehicle. First, based on the motion equation of the vehicle and the time shift property of the Fourier transform, the vehicle FRF with respect to the displacements of vehicle–road contact points, which describes the relationship between the measured response and road roughness, is deduced and simplified. The key to road roughness estimation is the vehicle FRF, which can be estimated directly using the measured response and the designed shape of the road based on the least-squares method. To eliminate the singular data in the estimated FRF, the shape function method was employed to improve the local curve of the FRF. Moreover, the road roughness can be estimated online by combining the estimated roughness in the overlapping time periods. Finally, a half-car model was used to numerically validate the proposed methods of road roughness estimation. Driving tests of a vehicle passing over a known-sized hump were designed to estimate the vehicle FRF, and the simulated vehicle accelerations were taken as the measured responses considering a 5% Gaussian white noise. Based on the directly estimated vehicle FRF and updated FRF, the road roughness estimation, which considers the influence of the sensors and quantity of measured data at different vehicle speeds, is discussed and compared. The results show that road roughness can be estimated using the proposed method with acceptable accuracy and robustness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vibration Control and Structure Health Monitoring)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Sensorless Pedalling Torque Estimation Based on Motor Load Torque Observation for Electrically Assisted Bicycles
Actuators 2021, 10(5), 88; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/act10050088 - 25 Apr 2021
Viewed by 558
Abstract
The need for reducing the cost of and space in Electrically Assisted Bicycles (EABs) has led the research to the development of solutions able to sense the applied pedalling torque and to provide a suitable electrical assistance avoiding the installation of torque sensors. [...] Read more.
The need for reducing the cost of and space in Electrically Assisted Bicycles (EABs) has led the research to the development of solutions able to sense the applied pedalling torque and to provide a suitable electrical assistance avoiding the installation of torque sensors. Among these approaches, this paper proposes a novel method for the estimation of the pedalling torque starting from an estimation of the motor load torque given by a Load Torque Observer (LTO) and evaluating the environmental disturbances that act on the vehicle longitudinal dynamics. Moreover, this work shows the robustness of this approach to rotor position estimation errors introduced when sensorless techniques are used to control the motor. Therefore, this method allows removing also position sensors leading to an additional cost and space reduction. After a mathematical description of the vehicle longitudinal dynamics, this work proposes a state observer capable of estimating the applied pedalling torque. The theory is validated by means of experimental results performed on a bicycle under different conditions and exploiting the Direct Flux Control (DFC) sensorless technique to obtain the rotor position information. Afterwards, the identification of the system parameters together with the tuning of the control system and of the LTO required for the validation of the proposed theory are thoroughly described. Finally, the capabilities of the state observer of estimating an applied pedalling torque and of recognizing the application of external disturbance torques to the motor is verified. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Communication
Analytical Modeling and Simulation of S-Drive Piezoelectric Actuators
Actuators 2021, 10(5), 87; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/act10050087 - 25 Apr 2021
Viewed by 512
Abstract
This paper presents a structural geometry for increasing piezoelectric deformation, which is suitable for both micro- and macro-scale applications. New and versatile microstructure geometries for actuators can improve device performance, and piezoelectric designs benefit from a high-frequency response, power density, and efficiency, making [...] Read more.
This paper presents a structural geometry for increasing piezoelectric deformation, which is suitable for both micro- and macro-scale applications. New and versatile microstructure geometries for actuators can improve device performance, and piezoelectric designs benefit from a high-frequency response, power density, and efficiency, making them a viable choice for a variety of applications. Previous works have presented piezoelectric structures capable of this amplification, but few are well-suited to planar manufacturing. In addition to this manufacturing difficulty, a large number of designs cannot be chained into longer elements, preventing them from operating at the macro-scale. By optimizing for both modern manufacturing techniques and composability, this structure excels as an option for a variety of macro- and micro-applications. This paper presents an analytical compact model of a novel dual-bimorph piezoelectric structure, and shows that this compact model is within 2% of a computer-distributed element model. Furthermore it compares the actuator’s theoretical performance to that of a modern actuator, showing that this actuator trades mechanical efficiency for compactness and weight savings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Miniature and Micro-Actuators)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
A Representation Generation Approach of Transmission Gear Based on Conditional Generative Adversarial Network
Actuators 2021, 10(5), 86; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/act10050086 - 23 Apr 2021
Viewed by 505
Abstract
Gear reliability assessment of vehicle transmission has been a challenging issue of determining vehicle safety in the transmission industry due to a significant amount of classification errors with high-coupling gear parameters and insufficient high-density data. In terms of the preprocessing of gear reliability [...] Read more.
Gear reliability assessment of vehicle transmission has been a challenging issue of determining vehicle safety in the transmission industry due to a significant amount of classification errors with high-coupling gear parameters and insufficient high-density data. In terms of the preprocessing of gear reliability assessment, this paper presents a representation generation approach based on generative adversarial networks (GAN) to advance the performance of reliability evaluation as a classification problem. First, with no need for complex modeling and massive calculations, a conditional generative adversarial net (CGAN) based model is established to generate gear representations through discovering inherent mapping between features with gear parameters and gear reliability. Instead of producing intact samples like other GAN techniques, the CGAN based model is designed to learn features of gear data. In this model, to raise the diversity of produced features, a mini-batch strategy of randomly sampling from the combination of raw and generated representations is used in the discriminator, instead of using all of the data features. Second, in order to overcome the unlabeled ability of CGAN, a Wasserstein labeling (WL) scheme is proposed to tag the created representations from our model for classification. Lastly, original and produced representations are fused to train classifiers. Experiments on real-world gear data from the industry indicate that the proposed approach outperforms other techniques on operational metrics. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Previous Issue
Next Issue
Back to TopTop