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- The need to maintain optimal energy efficiency is critical during the drilling operations performed on future and current planetary rover missions (see figure). Specifically, this innovation seeks to solve the following problem. Given a spring-loaded percussive drill driven by a voice-coil motor, one needs to determine the optimal input voltage waveform (periodic function) and the optimal hammering period that minimizes the dissipated energy, while ensuring that the hammer-to-rock impacts are made with sufficient (user-defined) impact velocity (or impact energy). To solve this problem, it was first observed that when voice-coil-actuated percussive drills are driven at high power, it is of paramount importance to ensure that the electrical current of the device remains in phase with the velocity of the hammer. Otherwise, negative work is performed and the drill experiences a loss of performance (i.e., reduced impact energy) and an increase in Joule heating (i.e., reduction in energy efficiency). This observation has motivated many drilling products to incorporate the standard bang-bang control approach for driving their percussive drills. However, the bang-bang control approach is significantly less efficient than the optimal energy-efficient control approach solved herein. To obtain this solution, the standard tools of classical optimal control theory were applied. It is worth noting that these tools inherently require the solution of a two-point boundary value problem (TPBVP), i.e., a system of differential equations where half the equations have unknown boundary conditions. Typically, the TPBVP is impossible to solve analytically for high-dimensional dynamic systems. However, for the case of the spring-loaded vibro-impactor, this approach yields the exact optimal control solution as the sum of four analytic functions whose coefficients are determined using a simple, easy-to-implement algorithm. Once the optimal control waveform is determined, it can be used optimally in the context of both open-loop and closed-loop control modes (using standard realtime control hardware).
- Other Subject(s):
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 20120014090.
NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012; 42-43.
- Copyright, Distribution as joint owner in the copyright.
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