This paper presents aeroelastic modelling and robust control design for a morphing airfoil concept. A finite dimensional linear time invariant aeroelastic model is developed for a multi-input multi-output morphing airfoil structure. The shape of the airfoil (NACA airfoil series 2415) is controlled by actuators distributed along the top airfoil surface that produce vertical deflections of the top surface at several locations. This results in an airfoil shape change (i.e., “morphing” of the wing), which causes changes in the aerodynamic loading on the wing. The objective is to control the deformation of the airfoil in realtime so as to achieve the desirable aerodynamic forces on the wing. The structural model is developed using the finite element approach. A finite element toolbox in Matlab, namely FEMLAB, is used to obtain eigenfrequencies and mode shapes. A finite dimensional dynamic model of the structure is obtained by the assumed modes method. A static aerodynamic model is developed with a vortex lattice method and coupled with the structural dynamic model to yield a linear aeroelastic model of the morphing wing. A robust LQG design is presented for tracking the commanded lift and roll moment. Some parametric studies are also presented for the choice of different materials. Simulation results are given to demonstrate the viability of the proposed modelling and control methodology for morphing wing concept.

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