Date of Award

Summer 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering (MSE)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

John H. Lumkes

Committee Chair

John H. Lumkes

Committee Member 1

Andrea Vacca

Committee Member 2

Gary Krutz


The main goal of the research was to design, manufacture, and test a new linear actuation system. Research was conducted on several types of actuation methods applied to hydraulic valves. A literature review showed that most existing actuator systems have the actuator and control mass coupled together. There is a need for high speed actuation. The proposed idea is to have the actuation mass always moving while accelerating and decelerating the control mass. The decoupling of these two will allow for the actuation and control mechanism to be independent and only move the control mechanism when needed. Initial modeling, as well as a matrix of design configurations, was done to compare the strengths of magneto-rheological fluid, piezoelectric and magnetics as a clutching mechanism. This led to the initial selection of a magneto-rheological fluid actuator. ^ A prototype of the energy coupling actuator was designed and manufactured. Building of the energy coupling actuator had many design iterations. These iterations built upon each previous design. A custom test stand was built to test the energy coupling actuator, and validate the design. The static power required to spin the kinetic energy source was measured to validate the design. Dynamic testing was performed on three prototypes and on the electrical current profile. The dynamic response of the final energy coupling actuator had a stroke of 1.5 mm in 3 ms and was also able to reach a stroke of 7 mm in 7 ms. The testing of the energy coupling actuator concluded that the product was capable of high-performance actuation.