17 May 2005 Design of a shape-memory alloy actuated macro-scale morphing aircraft mechanism
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Abstract
As more alternative, lightweight actuators have become available, the conventional fixed-wing configuration seen on modern aircraft is under investigation for efficiency on a broad scale. If an aircraft could be designed with multiple functional equilibria of drastically varying aerodynamic parameters, one craft capable of 'morphing' its shape could be used to replace two or three designed with particular intentions. One proposed shape for large-scale (geometry change on the same order of magnitude as wingspan) morphing is the Hyper-Elliptical Cambered Span (HECS) wing, designed at NASA Langley to be implemented on an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Proposed mechanisms to accomplish the spanwise curvature (in the y-z plane of the craft) that allow near-continuous bending of the wing are narrowed to a tendon-based DC motor actuated system, and a shape memory alloy-based (SMA) mechanism. At Cornell, simulations and wind tunnel experiments assess the validity of the HECS wing as a potential shape for a blended-wing body craft with the potential to effectively serve the needs of two conventional UAVs, and analyze the energetics of actuation associated with a morphing maneuver accomplished with both a DC motor and SMA wire.
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Justin Manzo, Ephrahim Garcia, Adam Wickenheiser, Garnett C. Horner, "Design of a shape-memory alloy actuated macro-scale morphing aircraft mechanism", Proc. SPIE 5764, Smart Structures and Materials 2005: Smart Structures and Integrated Systems, (17 May 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.601372; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.601372
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