A team from Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA, has been awarded the 2006 NASA Government Invention of the Year for the MacroFiber Composite Actuator and Sensor (MFC), an actuator and sensor system that is more durable than a piezoelectric system, and provides increased unidirectional control. In addition to being used in a number of NASA space structures and aeronautics programs, the technology can be used in military, automotive, medical, and consumer product applications.
Traditional actuation systems used in aerospace applications are hydraulic, pneumatic, and electromechanical devices. The MFC is an embodiment of a new type of piezoelectric device. The system?s piezocomposite technology allows integration and distribution of piezoelectric elements on a scale larger than what was possible previously. The MFC was designed to be integrated into a system as an add-on component, or integrated during manufacturing.
Commercial applications include energy harvesting for telemetry devices, health monitoring of composite and civil engineering structures, low-frequency wound-healing for medical applications, control and feedback of robotic welding equipment, and active feedback of high-performance athletic equipment.
Find out more in the June issue of NTB, or click here.