Efficient high-speed on/off valves are an enabling technology for applying digital control techniques such as pulse-width-modulation (PWM) to hydraulic systems. Virtually variable displacement pumps (VVDPs) are one application where variable displacement functionality is attained using a fixed-displacement pump paired with an on/off valve and an accumulator. High-speed valves increase system bandwidth and reduce output pressure ripple by enabling higher switching frequencies. In addition to fast switching, on/off valves should also have small pressure drop and low actuation power to be effective in these applications. In this paper, a new unidirectional rotary valve designed for PWM is proposed. The valve is unique in utilizing the hydraulic fluid flowing through it as a power source for rotation. An unoptimized prototype capable of high flow rate (40 lpm), high speed (2.8 ms transition time at 100 Hz PWM frequency), and low pressure drop (0.62 MPa), while consuming little actuation power (<0.5% full power or 30 W, scavenged from fluid stream), has been constructed and experimentally validated. This paper describes the valve design, analyzes its performance and losses, and develops mathematical models that can be used for design and simulation. The models are validated using experimental data from a proof-of-concept prototype. The valve efficiency is quantified and suggestions for improving the efficiency in future valves are provided.

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