Morphing wings are of great interest in the aerospace community. Control surfaces with continuously variable geometry can increase the efficiency of aircraft aerodynamics. This research focuses on demonstrating a morphing flap on a small span-wise section of the trailing edge in a wing for a small unmanned air vehicle (UAV). The flaps used flexible matrix composite (FMC) actuators embedded in a flexible structure, rather than hinged control surfaces with conventional actuators. This created a local aerodynamic control force whose effect can be measured using the UAV’s on-board flight control system. After multiple design iterations, in which the FMC actuator material and structure were varied, the final design incorporates a carbon fiber frame with an actuator system embedded in a foam matrix. The FMC control surfaces were successfully demonstrated in flight tests on the eSPAARO unmanned aerial vehicle.
- Aerospace Division
Design and Demonstration of a Flexible Matrix Composite Actuated Flap in a UAV
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Heim, M, Pyne, K, Bialy, A, Burns, M, Mohan, G, Beaty, N, MacNeal, C, Weit, C, Doepke, EB, Kevorkian, C, Philen, M, & Woolsey, C. "Design and Demonstration of a Flexible Matrix Composite Actuated Flap in a UAV." Proceedings of the ASME 2015 Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems. Volume 2: Integrated System Design and Implementation; Structural Health Monitoring; Bioinspired Smart Materials and Systems; Energy Harvesting. Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA. September 21–23, 2015. V002T04A020. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/SMASIS2015-9033
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