This study examines the biomimicry of wave propagation, a mode of locomotion in aquatic life for the use-case of morphing aircraft surfaces for boundary layer control. Such motion is theorized to inject momentum into the flow on the upper surface of airfoils, and as a consequence, creates a forcible pressure gradient thereby increasing lift. It is thought that this method can be used to control flow separation and reduce likelihood of stall at high angles of attack. The motivation for such a mechanism is especially relevant for aircraft requiring abrupt maneuvers, and especially at high angles of attack as a safety measure against stalling. The actuation mechanism consists of lightweight piezoelectric ceramic transducers placed beneath the upper surface of an airfoil. An open-loop system controls surface morphing. A two-dimensional Fourier Transform technique is used to estimate traveling to standing wave ratio, which is verified analytically using Euler Bernoulli beam theory, and experimentally using a prototype wing. Propagating wave control is tuned and verified using a series of scanning laser vibrometry tests. A custom two-dimensional NACA 0018 airfoil tests the concept in a low-speed wind tunnel with approximate Reynolds Number of 50,000. Both traveling waves and the changes in lift and drag will be experimentally characterized.

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