On the use of electrorheological fluids for smart space materials

Gordon K. Lee, Fuh Gwo Yuan, Hans Conrad

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Citations (Scopus)


Large space systems are characterized by lightly damped, large dimensional structures linked together at several joints. Such structures possess many flexible modes which need be controlled. For example, current SPACE CRANE designs consist of a multi-body truss structure with several adjustable bar components to provide the necessary kinematic configurations for on-orbit assembly. Reorientation of these structures may generate vibrations along the truss members which must be appropriately suppressed. Electroreheological (ER) fluids are being considered as a viable distributed actuator for flexible structures. This medium has the property that, by changing the electric potential across the actuator, damping characteristics can be modified (flexible to rigid). In the effort presented here, ER fluids are investigated using a single link flexible beam testbed. The beam is a sandwich configuration in which the ER fluid is distributed along its length. As the beam is rapidly slewed, the ER fluids may be employed to provide flexibility during the transient response period of the maneuver (for speed, as is done with a fishing rod) and made rigid at the end-point of the maneuver (for stability, as is done for rigid-linked robotic systems). This paper discusses some preliminary results on modelling the ER fluid as an actuator for a flexible beam; further, by using some simple strategies with this testbed, the impact of this distributed actuator as a controller for the smart structure is evaluated. Such results may provide a benchmark for the use of such actuators in many space structure designs.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSpace Exploration Science and Technologies Research
PublisherPubl by ASME
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)0791811069
Publication statusPublished - 1992
EventWinter Annual Meeting of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers - Anaheim, CA, USA
Duration: 1992 Nov 81992 Nov 13

Publication series

NameAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers, Aerospace Division (Publication) AD
ISSN (Print)0733-4230


OtherWinter Annual Meeting of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers
CityAnaheim, CA, USA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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