Within the past years the Daimler-Benz Research & Technology Department has initiated work to explore the benefits of adaptive materials and structures technologies for use in a broad range of modern transportation systems in the aerospace, automotive and railway industries.
This paper presents recent research activities focusing on two aerospace guidance concepts where the application of adaptive systems will play a major role: the “Adaptive Wing” and the “Adaptive Rotor Systems”.
The “Adaptive Wing” will incorporate “smart” technologies to control wing geometry to adapt to actual lift and load requirements. Various concepts for airfoil shape adaptivity are currently under investigation. The “Adaptive Rotor Systems” include an innovative type of individual blade control (IBC) with piezo-driven servo flaps built into the outer trailing edge of the rotor blades.
The presented research activities cover the field of multifunctional sensor and actuator systems based on adaptive materials and include basic material research, e.g. new approaches to fast reacting, high strain actuator materials, as well as innovative concepts for deformable “adaptive” structures up to proof-of-concept demonstrators at laboratory level.