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Proceedings Paper

Spanwise morphing trailing edge on a finite wing
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Paper Abstract

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are prime targets for morphing implementation as they must adapt to large changes in flight conditions associated with locally varying wind or large changes in mass associated with payload delivery. The Spanwise Morphing Trailing Edge concept locally varies the trailing edge camber of a wing or control surface, functioning as a modular replacement for conventional ailerons without altering the spar box. Utilizing alternating active sections of Macro Fiber Composites (MFCs) driving internal compliant mechanisms and inactive sections of elastomeric honeycombs, the SMTE concept eliminates geometric discontinuities associated with shape change, increasing aerodynamic performance. Previous work investigated a representative section of the SMTE concept and investigated the effect of various skin designs on actuation authority. The current work experimentally evaluates the aerodynamic gains for the SMTE concept for a representative finite wing as compared with a conventional, articulated wing. The comparative performance for both wings is evaluated by measuring the drag penalty associated with achieving a design lift coefficient from an off-design angle of attack. To reduce experimental complexity, optimal control configurations are predicted with lifting line theory and experimentally measured control derivatives. Evaluated over a range of off-design flight conditions, this metric captures the comparative capability of both concepts to adapt or “morph” to changes in flight conditions. Even with this simplistic model, the SMTE concept is shown to reduce the drag penalty due to adaptation up to 20% at off-design conditions, justifying the increase in mass and complexity and motivating concepts capable of larger displacement ranges, higher fidelity modelling, and condition-sensing control.

Paper Details

Date Published: 2 April 2015
PDF: 15 pages
Proc. SPIE 9431, Active and Passive Smart Structures and Integrated Systems 2015, 94310T (2 April 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2083945
Show Author Affiliations
Alexander M. Pankonien, Univ. of Michigan (United States)
Daniel J. Inman, Univ. of Michigan (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9431:
Active and Passive Smart Structures and Integrated Systems 2015
Wei-Hsin Liao, Editor(s)

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