Analytical and Experimental Identification of Nonlinearities in a Single-Nut, Preloaded Ball Screw

[+] Author and Article Information
J. F. Cuttino

Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487

T. A. Dow

Precision Engineering Center, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7918

B. F. Knight

Govt. Communication Systems Div., Harris Corporation, Melbourne, FL 32902

J. Mech. Des 119(1), 15-19 (Mar 01, 1997) (5 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2828782 History: Received February 01, 1996; Revised September 01, 1996; Online January 18, 2008


The nonlinear performance of a single-nut, preloaded ball screw actuator is analyzed in this paper. The study identifies the source of nonlinear torque in the ball screw and subsequently maps that torque into the nonlinear displacement response due to windup in the shaft. The study is complemented with an experimental verification using a small angle rotation fixture (ARC) to input very small amplitude angular displacements to the screw while measuring induced torque and displacements. The experimental results are obtained from a Precision Linear Optimization Testbed (PLOT) which was developed to study the ability of different actuator systems to provide long range motion with nanometer accuracy. The analysis is conducted for the case of no axial loading. The study shows that the nonlinearities in the ball screw originate in the rolling friction between the balls and the races which induces torque in the nut and subsequently windup in the shaft. It also shows that the torque can be deduced from a relationship of the torque between a ball spinning in a race.

Copyright © 1997 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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