Thrust vectoring of a ducted fan jet utilizing a novel piezoelectric composite morphing nozzle
A new thrust vectoring technique is represented in this thesis where a novel piezoelectric composite material also known as a Macro Fiber Composite (MFC) was used. The propulsive jet of a ducted fan or turbine is normally achieved by utilizing mechanical or fluidic actuators placed at the jet nozzle. Thrust-vectoring has the potential to reduce the size and power requirements of tradition tail control surfaces (i.e., elevator and rudder utilized for aircraft flight control) and/ or increase the maneuverability of the aircraft by augmenting these control surfaces. However, in the case of mechanical nozzle manipulation thrust vectoring, it can become an overly complex mechanism often requiring considerable power. Fluidic actuators (such as synthetic jets that impart low levels of momentum compared to the primary jet) achieve very marginal levels of thrust vectoring which become ineffective for flight control/ maneuvering at high turbine or ducted fan jet speeds. In this study a circle to square shaped nozzle was designed with MFC actuators consisting of the MFC bonded to fiberglass plates. These MFCs were actuated by high voltage amplifier. Measurements were taken for three voltages- 200, 800 and 1200V for both pitch thrust vectoring (PTV) and yaw thrust vectoring (YTV). Forces, torques for thrust vectoring gained from load cell and voltage, current data for operating the ducted fan were achieved from NI DAQ X-series 16-bit board system which was connected to computer through Matlab code. Also the angular acceleration was measured. The ducted fan was operated at various duty cycles through a speed controller. The MFCs showed good performance for thrust vectoring at 1200V. For lower voltages the thrust vectoring performance was unpredictable. The angular acceleration also showed a linear relationship with both pitching torque and yawing torque.