MFC - Macro Fiber Composite Actuator and Sensor

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Macro Fiber Composite Actuator and Sensor

Technology abstract

The Macro Fiber Composite (MFC) is an innovative actuator that offers high performance and flexibility in a cost-competitive device. Applications for the MFC range from vibration reduction to shape-changing structures, from micropositioning to dynamic structural health monitoring or force-sensor applications.

The technology was collected by EurA Consult AG.

- Johannes Schmidt -

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Technology Description

The Macro Fiber Composite (MFC) is an innovative actuator that offers high performance and flexibility in a cost-competitive device and was originally developed at NASA’s Langley Research Center for aerospace applications. The MFC consists of rectangular piezo-fibers sandwiched between layers of adhesive, electrodes and polyimide film. This film contains interdigitated electrodes that transfer the applied voltage directly to and from the ribbon shaped rods. This assembly enables in-plane poling, actuation, and sensing in a sealed, durable, ready-to-use package.

Innovations & Advantages

The MFC technology permits the production of perfectly aligned fiber actuators that are no thicker than a few tenths of a millimeter. When embedded in a surface or attached to flexible structures, the MFC provides distributed solid-state deflection and vibration control or strain measurements. A further field of application is the Energy Harvesting where environmental “waste” vibrations are being used for powering of small electronics like sensors or telemetric data transmission systems. Overall, the MFC offers the following innovative characteristics:

  • Flexible and durable
  • Increased strain actuator efficiency
  • Directional actuation/sensing
  • Damage tolerant
  • Available as elongator (d33 mode) and contractor (d31 mode)
  • Conforms to surfaces
  • Readily embeddable
  • Environmentally sealed package
  • Demonstrated performance
  • Different piezo ceramic materials available

Further Information

The MFC is available in d33 and d31 operational mode, a unique feature of the Macro Fiber Composite. Furthermore beside of the MFC’s in standard sizes available from stock customized layouts and sizes are possible.

Current and Potential Domains of Application

Applications for the MFC range from vibration reduction to shape-changing structures, from micropositioning to dynamic structural health monitoring or force-sensor applications. Applications are, e.g.:

  • Vibration and noise control
  • Structural forming, morphing
  • Structural health monitoring
  • Strain gauges
  • Loudspeaker applications
  • Energy harvesting