In this letter, the authors present results of an experimental investigation demonstrating how extreme persistent thermal cycling influences the performance of piezoelectric macro fiber composite (MFC) actuators. More specifically, this research shows how repeated temperature cycling ranging from −60 °C to 90 °C and from −50 °C to 150 °C affects an MFCs ability to actuate while being driven at frequencies of 60 Hz to 90 Hz with a voltage of 20 Vpp. Experimental results show that thermal cycling causes MFC actuation characteristics to drift and eventually stabilize after approximately 20 cycles. In two cases presented here, thermal cycling alone caused a residual increase in actuation amplitude that exceeded the initial amplitude by 70%. This apparent thermal memory effect of MFCs may significantly impact the design and analysis of active structures where MFCs are used for vibration or displacement control in transient extreme temperature environments such as those encountered by aerospace structures, industrial equipment, automobiles, and civil infrastructure.
Inman, D., Owen, R., & Hobeck, J. (2016). Residual thermal effects in macro fiber composite actuators exposed to persistent temperature cycling. Applied Physics Letters, 108(11), . https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4943947