There is a demand for compact hybrid actuation systems which combines actuation and valving systems in a compact package. Such self-contained actuation systems have potential applications in the field of rotorcraft (as active pitch links) and automotive engineering (as active vibration control devices). Hybrid hydraulic actuation systems, based on frequency rectification of the high frequency motion of an active material, can be used to exploit the high bandwidth of smart material to design devices with high force and stroke. Magnetorheological (MR) fluids are active fluids whose viscosity can be changed through the application of a magnetic field. By using MR fluids as the hydraulic fluid in such hybrid devices, a valving system with no moving parts can be implemented. Such a system will be attractive in rotorcraft applications with large centrifugal force loading. Thus, MR fluids can be used to control the motion of an output cylinder. The MR fluid based valves can be configured in the form of a Wheatstone bridge to produce bi-directional motion in an output cylinder by alternately applying a magnetic field in the two arms of the bridge. In this study, the actuation is performed using a compact Terfenol-D stack driven actuator. The frequency rectification of the stack motion is done using reed valves. This actuator and valve configuration form a compact hydraulic system with fluidic valves. The advantages of such systems are that part count is low, absence of moving parts and the possibility of continuous controllability of the output cylinder. By applying varying magnetic fields in the arms of the bridge (by applying different currents to the coils), the differential pressure acting on the output cylinder can be controlled. The description of the experimental setup, the tests performed and the experimental results are presented in this paper.

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