Method and Apparatus for Reducing Fatigue and Dynamic Coupling of Drive Units and Structures

Method and Apparatus for Reducing Fatigue and Dynamic Coupling of Drive Units and Structures

Docket: UAH-P-15014


Static and dynamic loads contribute to reduced product life through two fundamental modes. Cyclic loads, especially those that are reversed, contribute to fatigue damage, resulting in limited life unless relatively high safety factors and costly designs are used. Cyclic loads can also couple with the natural frequency of a structure to produce amplified dynamic loads, which can be severe.

Researchers at UAH have developed novel damping and load release mechanisms that reduce the magnitude and frequency of loads that contribute to fatigue or sudden catastrophic failure. These mechanisms also reduce dynamic amplification of loads imposed, providing additional integrity and lengthening life. They are particularly useful for mitigating and reducing high impulse loads, such as from start up, impact, shock, vibration, wind gusts, etc. The damping and load release mechanisms are applicable to conventional gear drives, linear actuators, chain drives, and a range of structural support members.

This technology allows a reduction in the worst case peak loads normally used to design a system. As a result, product life can be greatly increased and the total costs reduced. In effect, this increases the safety factor for the design by essentially eliminating the worst case conditions. This is less expensive than simply increasing the safety factor by increasing size or using higher stress materials.


  • Solar power and wind energy systems
  • Transportation
  • Heavy machinery/agricultural equipment
  • Prosthetics
  • Robotics
  • Launch vehicles and spacecraft


  • Reduces fatigue cycles and dynamic amplification
  • Reduces high-impulse loads
  • Enables design for lower stress levels
  • Tunable damping


  • State of Development: Prototype
  • Licensing Status: Available for licensing
  • Patent Status: Patented