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Characterization and Thermal Management of a DC Motor-Driven Resonant Actuator for Miniature Mobile Robots with Oscillating Limbs

2020

Article

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In this paper, we characterize the performance of and develop thermal management solutions for a DC motor-driven resonant actuator developed for flapping wing micro air vehicles. The actuator, a DC micro-gearmotor connected in parallel with a torsional spring, drives reciprocal wing motion. Compared to the gearmotor alone, this design increased torque and power density by 161.1% and 666.8%, respectively, while decreasing the drawn current by 25.8%. Characterization of the actuator, isolated from nonlinear aerodynamic loading, results in standard metrics directly comparable to other actuators. The micro-motor, selected for low weight considerations, operates at high power for limited duration due to thermal effects. To predict system performance, a lumped parameter thermal circuit model was developed. Critical model parameters for this micro-motor, two orders of magnitude smaller than those previously characterized, were identified experimentally. This included the effects of variable winding resistance, bushing friction, speed-dependent forced convection, and the addition of a heatsink. The model was then used to determine a safe operation envelope for the vehicle and to design a weight-optimal heatsink. This actuator design and thermal modeling approach could be applied more generally to improve the performance of any miniature mobile robot or device with motor-driven oscillating limbs or loads.

Author(s): Colmenares, David and Kania, Randall and Liu, Miao and Sitti, Metin
Journal: arXiv preprint arXiv:2002.00798
Year: 2020

Department(s): Physical Intelligence
Bibtex Type: Article (article)
Paper Type: Journal

BibTex

@article{colmenares2020characterization,
  title = {Characterization and Thermal Management of a DC Motor-Driven Resonant Actuator for Miniature Mobile Robots with Oscillating Limbs},
  author = {Colmenares, David and Kania, Randall and Liu, Miao and Sitti, Metin},
  journal = {arXiv preprint arXiv:2002.00798},
  year = {2020}
}