The Development of Piezoelectric Actuators for Active Flow Control

TitleThe Development of Piezoelectric Actuators for Active Flow Control
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsCattafesta, L., S. Garg, and D. Shukla
JournalAIAA Journal
Date PublishedAUG

Piezoelectric flap actuators are often used in active flow control applications. However, effective design tools are lacking in the flow control community. This paper discusses theoretical modeling, experimental validation, and optimal design of piezoelectric unimorph and bimorph flap actuators. First, two different finite element models are described. One is a simple beam model that assumes a perfect bond exists between the piezoelectric patch and the shim, while the second incorporates a linear elastic shear element for the bond layer. These models are then used to predict the magnitude of the dc response (tip displacement per unit applied voltage) and the natural frequency (a measure of the bandwidth) of these actuators. Next, an approximate analytical model is developed to facilitate design optimization. The models are compared with experimental data obtained from a parametric study in which ten otherwise identical unimorph piezoelectric actuators with varying piezoelectric patches are fabricated and characterized using a laser displacement sensor. All models produce estimates that are accurate to within +/-15% and +/-10% for the dc response and natural frequency, respectively. The analytical model is also extended to bimorph actuators. Finally, a general design optimization procedure is presented, and representative results are provided.