In part I of this study, we experimentally and numerically investigated the pilot stage of a novel two-stage servovalve architecture. The novelty of the proposed configuration is the torque motor being removed and replaced with two small two-way two-position (2/2) valves actuated by piezoelectric ring benders, which can effectively control the opening degree of a main spool valve. With this novel architecture, the typical drawbacks of two-stage servovalves can be overcome, such as the high complexity of the torque motor and the high internal leakage in the pilot stage when the main valve is at rest in the neutral position (null). The low complexity and the negligible internal leakage of the piezo-valves are accompanied by the high response speed typical of piezoelectric actuators. The valve assessment is completed in the present study, since the entire valve architecture (main stage + pilot stage) is investigated. In particular, a simplified numerical model is developed to provide a design tool that allows, for a given main stage spool, the values of the geometrical parameters of the pilot stage to be chosen along with the characteristics of the ring bender. This design procedure is applied to a 7 mm diameter main spool; afterward, a detailed numerical model of the entire valve, solved by SimScape Fluids software, is employed to demonstrate that the response of the main stage valve is very rapid while ensuring negligible internal leakage through the piezo-valves when the main stage is closed (resulting in lower power consumption). For this reason, the proposed valve can be regarded as a "clean" component for energy conversion, having lower energy consumption than commercially available servovalves.
- Ring bender
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology
- Energy (miscellaneous)
- Control and Optimization
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering