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Proceedings Paper

Experimental testing of spanwise morphing trailing edge concept
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Paper Abstract

Aircraft wings with smooth, hinge-less morphing ailerons exhibit increased chordwise aerodynamic efficiency over conventional hinged ailerons. Ideally, the wing would also use these morphing ailerons to smoothly vary its airfoil shape between spanwise stations to optimize the lift distribution and further increase aerodynamic efficiency. However, the mechanical complexity or added weight of achieving such a design has traditionally exceeded the potential aerodynamic gains. By expanding upon the previously developed cascading bimorph concept, this work uses embedded Macro-Fiber Composites and a flexure box mechanism, created using multi-material 3D printing, to achieve the Spanwise Morphing Trailing Edge (SMTE) concept. The morphing actuators are spaced spanwise along the wing with an elastomer spanning the gaps between them, which allows for optimization of the spanwise lift distribution while maintaining the continuity and efficiency of the morphing trailing edge. The concept is implemented in a representative section of a UAV wing with a 305 mm chord. A novel honeycomb skin is created from an elastomeric material using a 3D printer. The actuation capabilities of the concept are evaluated with and without spanning material on a test stand, free of aerodynamic loads. In addition, the actuation restrictions of the spanning elastomer, necessary in adapting the morphing concept from 2D to 3D, are characterized. Initial aerodynamic results from the 1’×1’ wind-tunnel also show the effects of aerodynamic loading on the actuation range of the SMTE concept for uniform morphing.

Paper Details

Date Published: 10 April 2013
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 8688, Active and Passive Smart Structures and Integrated Systems 2013, 868815 (10 April 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2009400
Show Author Affiliations
Alexander Pankonien, Univ. of Michigan (United States)
Daniel J. Inman, Univ. of Michigan (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8688:
Active and Passive Smart Structures and Integrated Systems 2013
Henry Sodano, Editor(s)

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