Classical mechanical watch plain bearing pivots have frictional losses limiting the quality factor of the hairspring-balance wheel oscillator. Replacement by flexure pivots leads to a drastic reduction in friction and an order of magnitude increase in quality factor. However, flexure pivots have drawbacks including gravity sensitivity, nonlinearity, and limited stroke. This paper analyzes these issues in the case of the cross-spring flexure pivot (CSFP) and presents an improved version addressing them. We first show that the cross-spring pivot cannot be simultaneously linear, insensitive to gravity, and have a long stroke: the 10 ppm accuracy required for mechanical watches holds independently of orientation with respect to gravity only when the leaf springs cross at 12.7% of their length. But in this case, the pivot is nonlinear and the stroke is only 30% of the symmetrical (50% crossing) cross-spring pivot's stroke. The symmetrical pivot is also unsatisfactory as its gravity sensitivity is of order 104 ppm. This paper introduces the codifferential concept which we show is gravity-insensitive. It is used to construct a gravity-insensitive flexure pivot (GIFP) consisting of a main rigid body, two codifferentials, and a torsional beam. We show that this novel pivot achieves linearity or the maximum stroke of symmetrical pivots while retaining gravity insensitivity.
Gravity-Insensitive Flexure Pivot Oscillators
Contributed by the Design Innovation and Devices of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received June 9, 2017; final manuscript received March 28, 2018; published online May 11, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Oscar Altuzarra.
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Kahrobaiyan, M. H., Thalmann, E., Rubbert, L., Vardi, I., and Henein, S. (May 11, 2018). "Gravity-Insensitive Flexure Pivot Oscillators." ASME. J. Mech. Des. July 2018; 140(7): 075002. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4039887
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