Design and analysis for an efficient and force dense piezoelectric poly-actuated linear motor is presented. A linear motor is constructed with multiple piezoelectric actuator units engaging a rod having gear teeth. The multiple piezo-units are placed along the geared rod with a particular phase difference such that a near constant force is generated regardless of the rod position by coordinating the multiple piezo-units. Rolling contact buckling mechanisms within the piezo-units provide large displacement amplification with high energy transmission and low loss properties from the piezo-units to the geared rod. This piezo-based motor has capacitive actuator characteristics which allow it to bear static loads efficiently. Furthermore, the poly-actuator architecture presented provides for scalability through modular design.
First, the basic design principle describing the engagement of buckling amplification mechanisms to a phased array-shaped gear rod is presented, and the resulting force and displacement characteristics are analyzed. Design methods for creating a piezoelectric poly-actuated linear motor are then summarized. A prototype design is presented for which a maximum mean force of 213 N, a maximum velocity of 1.125 m/s, and a force density of 41 N/kg is calculated.