Part-Per-Million Latching Actuator

Period of Performance: 04/29/1998 - 04/12/1999


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Starsys Research
1722 Boxelder St.
Louisville, CO 80027
Principal Investigator

Research Topics


This will develop an alternative technology for precision actuation and latching. A linear actuator based on paraffin expansion will be coupled with an innovative latching mechanism that allows the actuator to hold position when power is turned off. The paraffin actuator is a simple, reliable device with abundant flight heritage. It has potential for ectremely accurate positioning control. It will provide prescise linear actuation with ample stroke and high output force using low power in a compact, lightweight, reliable package that is easy to control. The latching mechanism is both unique and innovative. It is fundamentally different from other latching concepts because it does not rely on the mechanical contact of two mating surfaces. Instead it utilizes a low melting point alloy to freeze and hold the actuator output shaft in the desired position. This latching concept can be applied to other types of actuators and latches (both linear and rotary) including high bandwidth piezo actuators. The combined device will have the following capabilities:1. stroke: 1 millimeter 2. accuracy: