Gravity-Insensitive Flexure Pivot Oscillators

Classical mechanical watch plain bearing pivots have frictional losses limiting the quality factor of the hairspring-balance wheel oscillator. Replacement by flexure pivots leads to a drastic reduction in friction and an order of magnitude increase in quality factor. However, flexure pivots have drawbacks including gravity sensitivity, nonlinearity, and limited stroke. This paper analyzes these issues in the case of the cross-spring flexure pivot (CSFP) and presents an improved version addressing them. We first show that the cross-spring pivot cannot be simultaneously linear, insensitive to gravity, and have a long stroke: the 10 ppm accuracy required for mechanical watches holds independently of orientation with respect to gravity only when the leaf springs cross at 12.7% of their length. But in this case, the pivot is nonlinear and the stroke is only 30% of the symmetrical (50% crossing) crossspring pivot’s stroke. The symmetrical pivot is also unsatisfactory as its gravity sensitivity is of order 104 ppm. This paper introduces the codifferential concept which we show is gravity-insensitive. It is used to construct a gravity-insensitive flexure pivot (GIFP) consisting of a main rigid body, two codifferentials, and a torsional beam. We show that this novel pivot achieves linearity or the maximum stroke of symmetrical pivots while retaining gravity insensitivity.

Published in:
Journal of Mechanical Design, 140, 1-9, 075002

 Record created 2018-06-28, last modified 2018-06-29

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