A motion amplifier using an axially driven buckling beam: I. Design and experiments

Jie Jiang, Eric Mockensturm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


For active materials such as piezoelectric stacks, which produce large force and small displacement, motion amplification mechanisms are often necessary - not simply to trade force for displacement, hut to increase the output work transferred through a compliant structure. Here, a new concept for obtaining large rotations from small linear displacements produced by a piezoelectric stack is proposed and analyzed. The concept uses elastic (buckling) and dynamic instabilities of an axially driven buckling beam. The optimal design of the buckling beam end conditions was determined from a static analysis of the system using Euler's elastica theory. This analysis was verified experimentally. A stack-driven, buckling beam prototype actuator consisting of a pre-compressed PZT stack (140mm long, 10mm diameter) and a thin steel beam (60mm × 12mm × 0.508mm) was constructed. The buckling beam served as the motion amplifier, while the PZT stack provided the actuation. The experimental setup, measuring instrumentation and method, the beam pre-loading condition, and the excitation are fully described in the paper. Frequency responses of the system for three pre-loading levels and three stack driving amplitudes were obtained. A maximum 16° peak-to-peak rotation was measured when the stack was driven at an amplitude of 325 V and frequency of 39 Hz. The effects of beam pre-load were also studied.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)391-409
Number of pages19
JournalNonlinear Dynamics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'A motion amplifier using an axially driven buckling beam: I. Design and experiments'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this