Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Airplane wings that change shape like a bird’s have scales like a fish

21.04.2004


To maximize a plane’s efficiency over a broader range of flight speeds, Penn State engineers have developed a concept for morphing airplane wings that change shape like a bird’s and are covered with a segmented outer skin like the scales of a fish.


Morphing HECS wing: showing the unmorphed and morphiged configurations. The wing tips are bent downwards to provide yaw control.(Courtsey: NASA Langley)



Dr. George Lesieutre, professor of aerospace engineering who leads the project, says, "Airplanes today are a design compromise. They have a fixed-wing structure that is not ideal for every part of a typical flight. Being able to change the shape of the wings to reduce drag and power, which vary with flight speed, could optimize fuel consumption so that commercial planes could fly more efficiently."

Morphing wings can also be useful for military defense and homeland security when applied to unmanned surveillance planes that need to fly quickly to a distant point, loiter at slow speed for a period of time and then return, Lesieutre explains. Flying efficiently at high speed requires small, perhaps, swept wings. Flying at slow speed for long periods requires long narrow wings. The morphing wings designed by the Penn State team can change both wing area and cross section shape to accommodate both slow and fast flight requirements.


Lesieutre and the wing design team will detail their concept in a paper, "Tendon Actuated Compliant Cellular Truss For Morphing Aircraft Structures," on Tuesday, April 20, at the 45th AIAA/ASME/ASCE/AHA/ASC Structures, Structural Dynamics and Materials Conference in Palm Springs, Calif. The authors are Lesieutre; Dr. Mary Frecker, associate professor of mechanical engineering; Deepak Ramrakhyani, doctoral candidate in aerospace engineering; and Smita Bharti, doctoral candidate in mechanical engineering.

The essential features of the Penn State concept are a small-scale, efficient compliant cellular truss structure, highly distributed tendon actuation and a segmented skin. The cellular truss structure is the skeleton of the wing. The skeleton is formed of repeating diamond-shaped units made from straight metal members connected at the angles with bendable or "compliant" shape memory alloys. Tendons in each unit, like the ropes that shape a tent, can pull the units into new configurations that will spring back, thanks to the shape memory alloys, when the tendon tension is released.

Since the underlying structure can undergo radical shape change, the overlaying skin of the wing must be able to change with it. Lesieutre says a concept that he thinks holds great promise is a segmented skin composed of overlapping plates, like the scales of a fish. He notes that conveyers on the baggage carousel in airports are composed of a similar pattern of plates.

So far, the design team has built a tabletop model of the compliant cellular truss structure and a computer graphic model of the wing structure.


The project is supported by grants from NASA and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Barbara Hale | Penn State
Further information:
http://www.psu.edu/

More articles from Transportation and Logistics:

nachricht Study sets new distance record for medical drone transport
13.09.2017 | Johns Hopkins Medicine

nachricht Researchers 'count cars' -- literally -- to find a better way to control heavy traffic
10.08.2017 | Florida Atlantic University

All articles from Transportation and Logistics >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

'Lipid asymmetry' plays key role in activating immune cells

20.02.2018 | Life Sciences

MRI technique differentiates benign breast lesions from malignancies

20.02.2018 | Medical Engineering

Major discovery in controlling quantum states of single atoms

20.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>