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Actuators 2015, 4(3), 135-155;

Characterization and Testing of an Electrorheological Fluid Valve for Control of ERF Actuators

Smart Materials Laboratory, 8/F., Houtex Industrial Building, 16 Hung To Road, Kwun Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong
University of Texas at Austin, Cockrell School of Engineering, 301 E Dean Keeton St, Austin,TX 78712, USA
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Delbert Tesar
Received: 24 April 2015 / Revised: 15 June 2015 / Accepted: 23 June 2015 / Published: 26 June 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers)
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Previous studies of electrorheological fluids (ERFs) were motivated by brake, clutch, damping, haptic and resistive applications, but never motivated towards developing an ERF based-hydraulic rotary actuator. One design to make such an actuator is to use ERF-based valves. To fully understand the performance of such an actuator, it is imperative to study ERF valves. For this reason, this paper presents a summary of design considerations for creating ERF-based actuators, an ERF-based valve design for an ERF actuator and a new experimental test-bed to obtain viscosity and yield characteristics of the ERF at flow rates as low as 0.049 L/min, an order of magnitude lower than industrial rheometers. The new test-bed successfully measured the dynamic viscosity of the ERF to be at 0.6 Pa-s for low flow rates and 0.2 Pa-s for higher flow rates. The presented valve design can successfully resist 1 MPa of fluid pressure, which is an operation mode higher than any haptic and damping applications in the literature. The experiments also shows that higher flow rates negatively affect the ERF’s yield characteristics for the first time in a situation where the ERF valve completely blocks flow. When the flow rates are increased, the response time to a fully-closed valve increases, the effective yield capability of the ERF decreases and the conductivity of the ERF increases. View Full-Text
Keywords: electrorheological fluid properties; smart fluids; actuator; valve electrorheological fluid properties; smart fluids; actuator; valve

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Nguyen, Q.-A.; Jorgensen, S.J.; Ho, J.; Sentis, L. Characterization and Testing of an Electrorheological Fluid Valve for Control of ERF Actuators. Actuators 2015, 4, 135-155.

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