A Rotary Microactuator Supported on Encapsulated Microball Bearings using an Electro-Pneumatic Thrust Balance
MASSACHUSETTS INST OF TECH CAMBRIDGE DEPT OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERING
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The development of a rotary microactuator supported on encapsulated microball bearings and driven by electro-pneumatic actuation is reported. The encapsulated bearing provides full support to an encased rotor, while an electro-pneumatic thrust balance is used to minimize rotor normal load. By minimizing normal load, bearing friction is reduced leading to increased speed and performance. Experimental results show that the microactuator is capable of repeatable operation and continuous 360 degrees motion at speeds of 5 - 2000 rpm. This is the first demonstration of a ball bearing supported electrostatic microactuator with a fully encased rotor, capable of direct mechanical attachment or reliable interaction with external media.
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