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MOSFET Switching Circuit Protects Shape Memory Alloy Actuators

A small-footprint, full surface-mount-component printed circuit board employs MOSFET (metal-oxide-semi-conductor field-effect transistor) power switches to switch high currents from any input power supply from 3 to 30 V.

High-force shape memory alloy (SMA) actuators generally require high current (up to 9 A at 28 V) to actuate. SMA wires (the driving element of the actuators) can be quickly overheated if power is not removed at the end of stroke, which can damage the wires. The new analog driver prevents overheating of the SMA wires in an actuator by momentarily removing power when the end limit switch is closed, thereby allowing complex control schemes to be adopted without concern for overheating. Either an integral pushbutton or microprocessor-controlled gate or control line inputs switch current to the actuator until the end switch line goes from logic high to logic low state. Power is then momentarily removed (switched off by the MOSFET). The analog driver is suited to use with nearly any SMA actuator.

This work was done by Mark A. Gummin of Miga Motor Company for Glenn Research Center.

Inquiries concerning rights for the commercial use of this invention should be addressed to NASA Glenn Research Center, Innovative Partnerships Office, Attn: Steven Fedor, Mail Stop 4–8, 21000 Brookpark Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44135. Refer to LEW-18581-1.

This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).

MOSFET Switching Circuit Protects Shape Memory Alloy Actuators (reference LEW-18581-1) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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