A novel servovalve pilot stage actuated by a piezo-electric ring bender: A numerical and experimental analysis

Paolo Tamburrano, Andrew R. Plummer, Pietro De Palma, Elia Distaso, Riccardo Amirante

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (SciVal)


Electrohydraulic servovalves are widely used for precise motion control in aerospace and other industries due to their high accuracy and speed of response. However, commercial two-stage servovalves have several undesirable characteristics, such as the power consumption caused by the quiescent flow (internal leakage) in the pilot stage, and the complexity and high number of parts of the torque motor assembly, which affect the cost and the speed of manufacture. The solution to these problems can help to reduce costs, weight and power consumption, and enhance the reliability and reproducibility as well as the performance of these valves. For these reasons, this paper proposes a novel configuration for the pilot stage: it is composed of two normally closed two-way two-position (2/2) valves actuated by two piezo-electric ring benders; the opening and closing of the two piezo-valves can generate a differential pressure to be used to control the displacement of the main spool. In this way, there is negligible quiescent flow when the main stage is at rest; in addition, the torque motor and all its components are removed. To assess the performance of this novel pilot stage concept, a prototype of the piezo-valve has been constructed and tested. The experimental results indicate that the response speed of the new piezo-valve is very high. Furthermore, a numerical model is employed to show that, by adjusting specific parameters, the performance of the piezo-valve can be further improved, so that the valve can be fully opened or closed in less than 5 ms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number671
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2020


  • Internal leakage
  • Piezoelectric actuators
  • Ring bender
  • Servovalves

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Control and Optimization
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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