Vehicle Propulsion by Solid State Motion Conference Paper uri icon


  • Traveling waves have shown the potential to transport material and are thus investigated as a propulsion mechanism. Through the use of piezoelectric actuators (PZTs), traveling waves were produced in beams with both free-free and fixed-free boundary conditions. It is shown that traveling waves can be generated by exciting two PZTs at a common frequency with a phase difference between the PZT signals. Experimentation showed the signal that creates the best traveling wave occurs at a driving frequency halfway between adjacent bending resonance frequencies and a phase difference of 90° between both PZTs signals. This has produced traveling waves in fixed-free beams and free-free beams in both air and water as well as for an underwater vehicle. These traveling waves generated useful propulsion in both the fixed-free and free-free beams.

name of conference

  • ASME 2014 Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems

published proceedings

  • Volume 2: Mechanics and Behavior of Active Materials; Integrated System Design and Implementation; Bioinspired Smart Materials and Systems; Energy Harvesting

author list (cited authors)

  • Jones, L., Spahnie, J., Lefeave, K., Haltom, C., Underwood, A., Aber, J., ... Tarazaga, P. A.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

  • Jones, Lucas||Spahnie, Josh||Lefeave, Kevin||Haltom, Charles||Underwood, Adam||Aber, Jacob||Malladi, VVN Sriram||Joyce, Bryan S||Tarazaga, Pablo A

publication date

  • September 2014