Exploiting mechanical instabilities and elastic nonlinearities is an emerging means for designing deployable structures. This methodology is applied here to investigate and tailor a morphing component used to reduce airframe noise, known as a slat-cove filler (SCF). The vortices in the cove between the leading edge slat and the main wing are among the important sources of airframe noise. The concept of an SCF was proposed in previous works as an effective means of mitigating slat noise by directing the airflow along an acoustically favorable path. A desirable SCF configuration is one that minimizes: (i) the energy required for deployment through a snap-through event; (ii) the severity of the snap-through event, as measured by kinetic energy, and (iii) mass. Additionally, the SCF must withstand cyclical fatigue stresses and displacement constraints. Both composite and shape memory alloy (SMA)-based SCFs are considered during approach and landing maneuvers because the deformation incurred in some regions may not demand the high strain recoverable capabilities of SMA materials. Nonlinear structural analyses of the dynamic behavior of a composite SCF are compared with analyses of similarly tailored SMA-based SCF and a reference, uniformly thick superelastic SMA-based SCF. Results show that by exploiting elastic nonlinearities, both the tailored composite and SMA designs decrease the required actuation energy compared to the uniformly thick SMA. Additionally, the choice of composite material facilitates a considerable weight reduction where the deformation requirement permits its use. Finally, the structural behavior of the SCF designs in flow are investigated by means of preliminary fluid-structure interaction analysis.

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