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From Merritt, H. E., Hydraulic Control Systems, J. Wiley, 1967. The input to an electro-hydraulic (EH) servovalve is typically a current or a differential current that powers an electromagnetic torque motor. The differential current Δi is typically supplied by an amplifier to avoid excess loading of the interface to the computer or controller. In the simplest (but not typical) form, the torque motor moves a spool valve as shown below. The spool valve allows the hydraulic fluid to pass from the supply to the return across two variable metering orifices with a controlled flow rate QL. If the spool is shifted in the other direction the direction of flow will reverse. Since the clearances between the spool and the valve body is small, the forces required to move a large spool are large. Hence the single stage or direct acting EH valve is limited to low rates of flow (small valves). Figure 7-11 from Merritt shows the pictorial representation of the motion system in this case.

In order to achieve higher flow rates, a two or three stage servovalve may be necessary. In this case the torque motor controls the first stage valve that actuates the spool on the second stage. The first stage valve is typically not a spool valve but either a flappernozzle valve or a jet pipe valve. The flapper-nozzle is more common. For these valves

Fig 1-17 shows the force feedback arrangement in which a feedback leaf spring applies a force to the flapper to restore equilibrium. Since continued imbalance in pressure would quickly move the spool to its limits of travel. but the effect of entrained air and vapor and the expansion of the walls containing a fluid. provided by the manufacturer or obtained from manufacturer’s specifications. The displacement of the flapper from a neutral position is powered by the torque motor and resisted by a torsional spring. The effective bulk modulus βe is an example. The models may represent the nonlinear square root relation between pressure and flow. Direct position feedback moves the nozzle with the spool as shown in Fig 7-14. for example. Some of the parameters of this model are readily calculated. Obviously the spool will tend to move in response to this imbalance and allow flow QL to the actuator. A very small spool displacement will result in a large flow at high pressures typically used. This is the form you should hope to apply to a system design. Even in this case it is generally desirable to compare the identified parameters to estimates based on first principles. a more detailed model is typically required than when modeling the system controlled by a well designed valve. Thus the equilibrium position of the spool is 1:1 with the position of the flapper. The ratio between the spring constant of this spring and the torsional spring on the torque motor determine the ratio between motion of the flapper and the spool. Block diagram 7-18 shows a very detailed model of the force feedback valve that is simplified in the block diagram of Fig 8-5 constructed for analysis of the valve in a position control system. The “fixed upstream orifice” in both types of valve is important to allow the pressure on either end of the spool to be below the supply pressure. or may be linearized about an operating position. Other terms in (817) are better identified from aggregate measurements of the system’s overall behavior. The model of the dynamics of the electromagnetic behavior is typically ignored or aggregated into the overall valve behavior. As shown in Fig 7-14 and 7-17 from Merritt. A small flapper motion creates an imbalanced pressure in one direction or the other on the ends of the spool of the second stage. so the limiting case can be estimated from knowledge of the ideal properties. It depends not only on the compressibility of the pure fluid. . a form of feedback connects the motion of the spool to the effective displacement of the flapper. the EH valve uses one flapper between two nozzles to produce a differential pressure that is applied to each side of the spool.flow passes from the nozzle through a cylindrical area between the nozzle and the flat flapper that is near to it. The transfer function of Equation (8-17) excerpted from Merritt is further simplified. Valve Models Mathematical models of the EH valve can be constructed at various levels of detail depending on the purpose of the model. Two common forms of feedback are illustrated in the figures from Merritt. When designing the valve itself. These effects are very hard to compute directly but they result in an increased compressibility (decrease bulk modulus).

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along with the units in the metric system: .The most common model of the load used for system design assumes the load is essentially an inertia and that Kq ⎞ TL K ⎛ Vt ⎜1 + xv − ce s⎟ 2 ⎜ Dm Dm ⎝ 4β e K ce ⎟ ⎠n θm = 2 ⎛s ⎞ 2δ h s⎜ ⎜ ω 2 + ω s + 1⎟ ⎟ h ⎝ n ⎠ where the variables are given below.

motor rotation/controlled rotation. rad K q = valve flow gain.1/sec Possible simplifications. The Merritt model shows a fourth order model for the electrical drive and spool dynamics but today’s electrical drives are so fast that their dynamics may be ignored. for a step input (i. The pressure in the actuator will reduce the pressure drop across the valve orifice. o For an example extension. etc. refinements and extensions of this model are numerous: o The simplest valve model would give the steady state flow for a given electrical input. See the Moog Company’s venerable publication. consider TL which is shown in the block diagram as an external input. dimensionless ωh = natural frequency of hydaulic system. liters/rad xv = valve spool displacement. This would be represented with a feedback loop representing the effects of inertia. Identification of Hydraulic System Parameters The model requires coefficients to be known within reasonable accuracy to be of any value. (m 3 /sec)/(N/m 2 ) Vt = volume compressed by fluid exiting valve. o There are other connections that are of interest. This effect is not explicit in the block diagram and would require further considerations of the back pressure if it is a substantial fraction of the supply pressure. such as lengths and volumes. m 3 β e = system effective bulk modulus. damping. lim s x v ( s ) = lim xv (t ) = K e K d K s ⋅1 = (a constant gain) x (input amplitude) s →0 t →∞ Thus if the valve dynamics are fast compared to those of the load. Some of the values can be measured directly.e. one can essentially ignore the dynamics of the electrical drive and the electromagnetics of the valve. rad/sec δ h = damping ratio of hydraulic system (sometimes labeled ξ ). As one can see from the final value theorem and the blocks representing the valve in Merritt’s Figure 8-5. leaving the effect of the valve as a constant. N/m 2 TL = externally applied load torque (N . of the load. “Transfer Function for Moog Servovalves” by Thayer for example models and parameters for a high performance servo valve. o A more accurate model of the servo valve spool motion is given by a first or second order transfer function.m) n = gear ratio. θ e ( s ) = 1 / s ) to the error signal.θ m = motor rotation. mm K ce= leakage coefficient. when it is likely to be dependent on the flow through the valve. liters/mm Dm = motor displacement. Other . compliance. dimensionless s = Laplace variable.

One difficulty is the measurement in an open loop fashion due to the presence of a pure integrator in the system.parameters may be determined in groups by certain experiments. . This is particularly true of the valve model. They include steady state measurements. To “identify” the parameters of any dynamic experiments. Often these experiments identify a coefficient of the transfer function that is a grouping of physical constants. time-domain measurements such as step responses. The true response has to be back calculated in these circumstances. Small amounts of flow through the valve in the null position cause the position to drift to the limits of travel. In most cases it may be desirable to check the identified coefficients with the feasible range of values of the physical constants. One alternative is to provide a position feedback which eliminates the drift although it alters the response. and frequency response measurements either from sinusoidal or other inputs. a number of experiments can be performed.

It is well known that internal valve paramaters (e. rates. EAST AURORA.g. However. It is important to appreciate and control these and other operational variables when performing measurements of servovalve dynamics. spring diameter. CONTROLS DIVISION. and so forth. nozzle spool and orifice sizes. the actual dynamic response will vary somewhat . Such a representation is. valve loading.) may be adjusted to produce wide variations in dynamic response. Once a servovalve is built. misleading and inaccurate results may be obtained. the usefulness of linear transfer functions for approximating servovalve response in analytical work is well established. at best. J. equivalent transfer function. etc. but should be considered where wide excursions are anticipated. An analytic approach for relating servovalve dynamic response to internal valve parameters is given in Appendix I of this technical bulletin. These effects are insignificant for small variations about design values. JANUARY 1958 1965 INTRODUCTION It is often convenient in servoanalysis or in system synthesis work to represent an electrohydraulic servovalve by a simplified. fluid input signal level. spool displacewith operating conditions such as supply pressure. NY 14052 TRANSFER FUNCTIONS FOR MOOG SERVOVALVES W.MOOG INC.. only an approximation of actual servovalve performance. The difficulty in assuming an explicit transfer function for electrohydraulic servovalves is that many design factors and many operational and environmental variables produce significant differences in the actual dynamic response. Appendix II to this Bulletin describes the production ment. hydraulic temperature. Consider the variables of the valve design. If such precautions are not taken. ambient temperature. THAYER. DECEMBER Rev.

servovalve-actuator is coupled to a load which exhibits a 50 cps resonant frequency.seconds" or "the apparent natural frequency of the servovalve is radians /second. Similarly. it is meaningful only to represent valve dynamic response in the frequency range to 50 cps. a relatively For low frequency if a instance. the servovalve is not the primary dynamic element." If a representation of servovalve response throughout the frequency range to about 50 cps is sufficient. These approximations to servovalve response have resulted in such expressions as "the equivalent time constant of the servovalve is . linear highly transfer complex functions devices to that represent exhibit servovalve response is that these valves are high-order. second.. still only an approximation to actual response is possible.e. the contribution of valve dynamics smaller correspondingly need be range considered.7 . for the reduced analytical task associated with the system analysis is obvious. Figure I shows a typical valve dynamic response. together with the response of a first-order transfer function. Fortunately.equipment presently used by Moog to measure servovalve dynamic response. so it is only necessary to represent valve response throughout spectrum. The first-order approximation is seen to be quite good throughout the lower frequency region. the equivalent time constant should correspond to the 45° phase point rather than the 0. Another difficulty in assigning simplified. for most physical systems. or even third-order transfer function is selected to represent servovalve dynamics. This simplification of actual servo response should be applied whenever practicable. the equivalent servovalve time constant) is best established by curve fitting techniques. If a quick approximation is desired. If a first. The time constant for the first-order transfer function (i. nonlinear responses. throughout frequency for a lower response physical systems. then a first-order expression is usually adequate.

rad/sec. only the region of this plot about the origin need be considered. flow gain may be from 50% to 200% of nominal. TORQUE MOTOR VALVE SPOOL TO ACTUATOR FIGURE 3 SYMBOLS FREQUENTLY USED i differential current input to servovalve in’/sec Ibs/in’ to the load m a (cis) (psi) Q servovalve flow P K T servovalve differential pressure output servovalve sensitivity. while not detracting appreciably from the amplitude ratio. these points will not coincide as the higherorder dynamic effects contribute low frequency phase lag in the servovalve response.OOOl inch for all four null edges. Another linearity assumption which is often made is that servovalve flow gain is constant through null. a second-order representation of the servovalve response is usually sufficient. as indicated in Figure 4. The time constants. be exercised to select the most appropriate transfer function approximation. Here. For example. The control in the by the dynamic response of Moog flow servovalves can be approximated frequency range to about 50 cps following first-order expression: 3 . the influence of the load on flow gain of the servovalve can be considered negligible. then a second-order response should be used. This is theoretically true for an ideal “zero lap” null cut of the valve spool. therefore. as appropriate. This close control gives a very small range of possible nonlinear flow control through null (about ±3% for an “axis” null cut). and the damping ratio with the amplitude characteristic. This situation can be varied one way or the other by holding a nominal overlap or underlap. Figure 2 shows a second-order approximation to the servovalve dynamics of Figure 1. or. as defined time constants sec. poor positioning accuracy. If servovalve response to frequencies near the 90 ° phase lag point is of interest. Other factors will often weigh more heavily in the choice of an approximate natural frequency and damping ratio. these representations are very useful for analytical studies and can reasonably form the basis for detailed system design. a secondorder transfer function which does not correlate with the 90 ° phase point may be used. the natural frequency is best associated with the 90 ° phase point. as the actuator contributes an additional 90 ° phase lag from the inherent integration.amplitude point (-3 db). If the spool becomes overlapped. nondimensional W” natural frequencies r S damping ratios Laplace operator FIGURE 4 SERVOVALVE TRANSFER FUNCTIONS Appropriate transfer functions for standard Moog servovalves are given below. In general. the servovalve flow gain is reduced at null. For null stability considerations. however. to do so. n a t u r a l f r e q u e n c i e s . Nevertheless. a n d damping ratios cited are representative. in other cases. Likewise. an underlap produces higher-than-normal servovalve gain. or poor dynamic response of the actuator at low-amplitude input signals. Normal production tolerances maintained at Moog hold the spool lap within ±O. empirical relationships which approximate the response of actual servovalves when operating without saturation. In general. the actual lap condition will vary with production tolerances. These expressions are linear. The change in servovalve flow gain at null may sometimes cause system instability. Flow from these servovalves will be influenced in varying degrees by changing load pressures. FLOW CONTROL SERVOVALVES This basic servovalve is one in which the control flow at constant load is proportional to the electrical input current. In a positional servomechanism. the response of individual servovalve designs may vary quite widely from those listed. but within this range. Here. the assumption of zero load influence is conservative with respect to system stability analyses. A good deal of judgment must. it may be desirable to approximate the low frequency phase characteristic accurately and. however.

sensing the relationship of load pressure to input current. = 27r f.4 cis/ma.0015 . the analytical approach to servovalve dynamics is most useful during preliminary servovalve design. the apparent natural frequency for pressure control servovalves is approximately 250 cps. the blocked-load transfer function no longer 4 .5 . + (s) = K. A small droop.. droop is purposely introduced. The value of servovalve sensitivity K depends upon the rated flow and input current.0023 . The appropriate time constant for representing servovalve dynamics will depend largely upon the flow capacity of the valve. so the load volume should be noted with response data. It is possible to relate servovalve response to internal valve parameters. for a 5 gpm valve at a rated 8 ma input current. apparent natural frequency rad/sec FIGURE 5 TO ACTUATOR FIGURE 6 5 = apparent damping ratio nd Order fn cpr 30 31 32 34 35 . for system design to use empirical approximations of the measured servovalve response. A second-order transfer function closely approximates the measured response in the frequency range to about 200 cps. However. Typically. K = 2. or decrease in the controlled pressure with flow. It is convenient to measure the dynamic response of a pressure control servovalve by capping the load lines and The controlled differential pressure may be any rated maximum up to the system pressure. does occur.55 6 .3 to 0. and more accurate. as discussed in Appendix I.0013 .5. It is better. as: The first and second-order transfer function approximations for servovalve dynamic response listed in the above table give reasonably good correlation with actual measured response.65 These servovalves provide a differential pressure output in response to the electrical input current. The static flowpressure curves for a typical pressure control servovalve are shown ill Figure 6. If it is necessary to represent servovalve dynamics through a wider frequency range. This droop is usually small in pressure-control servovalves. or when attempting to change the response of a given design. = 125 psi/ma. For a 1000 psi rated control pressure at 8 ma electrical input. When a pressure control servovalve is required to supply flow to the load. [1+(%ls+(%)j where K.+W=K (l .0020 . = pressure control servovalve static gain Wn = 2 n f. In pressureflow servovalves.. even throughout the null region. in some applications even a small droop can significantly alter the system response. however. apparent natural frequency rad/sec psi/ma < = apparent damping ratio nondimensional PRESSURE CONTROL SERVOVALVES TORQUE MOTOR P VALVE SPOOL PRESSURE ACK K where (J.0029 240 200 160 140 110 t.> where K -= servovalve static flow gain at zero load pressure drop 7 = apparent servovalve time constant set cis m a Standard flow control servovalves are available in several sizes and with many internal design configurations. The actual blocked-load response for a pressure-control servovalve depends somewhat on the entrapped oil volume of the load. . and the damping ratio is about 0.5 . Transfer functions for these valves are discussed in the next section. K. Typical time constant approximations for Moog Type 30 servovalves are given in the table below. With a blocked load. a second-order response can be used.

008 inch in diameter. 3. The armature/flapper can be represented as a simple lumpedparameter system. change in orifice fluidimpedance with flow and with fluid characteristics. or when attempting to alter response of a given design by parameter variation. 2. Therefore. Motions of the flapper are small with respect to spool motion. The analytic representation of servovalve dynamics is useful during prelim- inary design of a new valve configuration. this becomes physically impractical with small orifices due to lack of strength for differential pressure loading. change in torque-motor output with displacement. however. these complex analyses have not contributed significantly to servovalve design due to uncertainties and inaccuracies associated with the higher-order effects. 8. Ideally. Experience has shown that these nonlinear and non-ideal characteristics limit the usefulness of theoretical analysis of servovalve dynamics in systems design. including computer studies which involve several nonlinear effects. Fluid compressibility and viscosity effects are negligible. A very adequate transfer function representation for the basic Type 30 mechanical feedback servovalve is given in Figure 12. All nonlinearities can either be approximated by linear dynamic effects. This simplified representation results from the following assumptions: 1.APPENDIX I ANALYTIC ANALYSIS OF SERVOVALVE DYNAMICS It is possible to derive meaningful transfer functions for electrohydraulic servovalves. 7. Perturbation conditions can be applied to the hydraulic amplifier orifice characteristics. the more meaningful approach is to approximate measured servovalve response with suitable transfer functions. For example. Unfortunately. servovalves are complex devices and have many nonlinear characteristics which are significant in their operation. the length of the orifice would be small with respect to its diameter to avoid both laminar and sharp-edge orifice effects. Unfortunately. as discussed in the body of this technical bulletin. Many servovalve parts are small so have a shape which is analytically nonideal. These analyses have been extremely useful when reduced to their simpler form. or can be neglected. and lack of material for adequate life with fluid erosion. and others. The forces necessary to move the spool are small with respect to the driving force available. change in orifice discharge coefficient with pressure ratio. 4. and up to eight dynamic orders (excluding any load dynamics). and several papers have reported such work (ref). Rather elaborate analyses of servovalve dynamic response have been performed at Moog. An ideal current source (infinite impedance) is used. Instead. Analysis also contributes to a clearer understanding of servovalve operation. 6. The last assumption implies that the differential pressure across the spool is TORQUE SUMMATION i ARMATURE-FLAPPER TORQUE MOTOR KI - 1 Kr 2ζ s 1+ s+ ωn ωn 2 xf HYDRAULIC AMPLIFIER K2 ∆Q SPOOL 1 Ass xs SPOOL FLOW GAIN K3 Qi FEEDBACK WIRE Kw SIMPLIFIED SERVOVALVE BLOCK DIAGRAM FIGURE 12 . These nonlinearities include: electrical hysteresis of the torque motor. the practical design from the performance standpoint is not necessarily the ideal design from the analytical standpoint. 5. fixed inlet orifices are often 0. sliding friction of the spool. Negligible load pressure exists.006 to 0.

4. The spool. flow forces. but it can be shown to be quite valid. and the simplification which results more than justifies its use. If so. The simplified block diagram is a third order system consisting of the armature/ flapper mass. The hydraulic-amplifier orifice bridge reduces to a simple gain term with the assumptions listed earlier. (4) higher torque motor charge level. (2) larger nozzle diameter. (3) higher nozzle pressure drop. the directions of these two effects are not compatible in that higher loop gain cannot be used with a lower natural frequency first stage. an optimum charge level exists which produces maximum loop gain for the stability margin desired. Here. Therefore. The latter is set by charge level of the torque motor. damping and stiffness. The effective stiffness of the armature/flapper is a composite of several effects. but this also lowers the natural frequency of the first stage. This gain is the differential flow unbalance between opposite arms of the bridge.negligible during dynamic conditions. Internal loop gain of the servovalve is determined by the following parameters. per increment of flapper motion. then spool mass. in this case. The higher torque motor charge gives a lower kf which increases loop gain. The damping force on the armature/flapper is likewise a composite effect. together with the flow-integration effect of the spool. friction. the following changes would increase internal servovalve loop gain: (1) smaller spool diameter. At first this assumption may seem unreasonable. and is individually adjusted in each servovalve to meet prescribed dynamic response limits. the most important of which are the centering effect of the flexure tube. can be related to nozzle parameters by the following: Any of the loop gain parameters can be altered to change servovalve response. and other spool force effects can be neglected. . For example. and the decentering effect of the permanent magnet flux. is analogous to the piston of a simple position servoloop. K2. it is known from experience that the equivalent ζ is about 0. The rotational mass of the armature/ flapper is quite easy to calculate. Unfortunately. The hydraulic amplifier flow gain.

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