A new geometrically unique ultrasonic motor (USM) was designed using finite element modeling (FEM). A USM operates by vibrating a drive tip in an elliptical motion while it is in periodic contact with a driven surface. Piezoelectric elements are used to create the elliptical motions and are driven near a resonant frequency to create the needed displacements for the motor to operate. An idea for a motor frame was conceived that consisted of an arch, a center ground, and two piezoelectric elements connected to the center ground. End caps were added between the frame and the piezoelectric elements to reduce the stress of the elements. Legs located at the bottom of were used to increase the rigidity. Several FEM programs were written to design the motor and to predict its performance. The FEM motor model exceeded the performance characteristics of the benchmark Nanomotion HR1. The model predicted a linear motor capable of pushing up to 5 N and a maximum speed of 0.4 m/s. A prototype frame was built out of tool steel and run against an oxide ceramic plate. The USM prototype's piezoelectric elements did not provide the expected displacements in the motor frame as determined by the FEM. The discrepancy was determined to be caused manufacturing errors. Soft glue layers were thicker than expected on each side of the piezoelectric elements causing a large amount of compliance inline with the piezoelectric motion. An additional unexpected layer of glue between the end cap and frame increased the compliance inline with the piezoelectric elements even more. It was also determined that even if the motor had been assembled properly that Hertzian displacement would have caused a 1/3 decrease in piezoelectric motion. The prototype frame's steady state displacements were approximately 20% of the expected output from the FEM models. The motor was still able to achieve a maximum speed of 55.6 mm/s and a push force of 0.348 N at a preload of 6 N. It is expected that a motor assembly correctly dimensioned and manufactured and designed to minimize Hertzian displacement would result in a significantly better performing prototype.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





ultrasonic, motor, USM, piezoelectric, actuator