Research Papers

Shape Memory Alloy Based Morphing Aerostructures

[+] Author and Article Information
Frederick T. Calkins

 The Boeing Company, P.O. Box 3707, Seattle, WA 93124frederick.t.calkins@boeing.com

James H. Mabe

 The Boeing Company, P.O. Box 3707, Seattle, WA 93124james.h.mabe@boeing.com

J. Mech. Des 132(11), 111012 (Nov 16, 2010) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4001119 History: Received December 01, 2008; Revised October 10, 2009; Published November 16, 2010; Online November 16, 2010

In order to continue the current rate of improvements in aircraft performance, aircraft and components which are continuously optimized for all flight conditions, will be needed. Toward this goal morphing-capable, adaptive structures based on shape memory alloy (SMA) technology that enable component and system-level optimization at multiple flight conditions are being developed. This paper reviews five large-scale SMA based technology programs initiated by The Boeing Company. The SAMPSON smart inlet program showed that fully integrated SMA wire bundles could provide a fighter aircraft with a variable engine inlet capability. The reconfigurable rotor blade program demonstrated the ability of highly robust, controlled 55-Nitinol tube actuators to twist a rotor blade in a spin stand test to optimize rotor aerodynamic characteristics. The variable geometry chevron (VGC) program, which was the first use of 60-Nitinol for a major aerospace application, included a flight test and static engine test of the GE90-115B engine fitted with controlled morphing chevrons that reduced noise and increased engine efficiency. The deployable rotor tab employed tube actuators to deploy and retract small fences capable of significantly reducing blade-vortex interaction generated noise on a rotorcraft. Most recently, the variable geometry fan nozzle program has built on the VGC technology to demonstrate improved jet engine performance. Continued maturation of SMA technology is needed in order to develop innovative applications and support their commercialization.

Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

SAMPSON Smart Inlet cowl rotation actuation system, SMA wire bundle actuator, with inset design schematic (7)

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Figure 2

SAMPSON rigid lip deflection, installed (top) design schematic (bottom) (7)

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Figure 3

SAMPSON Smart Inlet installed in NASA Langley 16 feet transonic tunnel (8)

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Figure 4

Rotor blade system with actuator system (circled) at the rotor base, antagonistic actuators, passive torque tube, and strain energy shuttle (12)

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Figure 5

RRB actuator system prior to installation (13)

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Figure 6

RRB 1/4 scale rotor blade in Boeing V/STOL tunnel (13)

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Figure 7

VGC program development 2002 initial concept through 2005 flight test and 2006 static engine test

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Figure 8

777–300ER flight test of variable geometry chevron thrust reverser sleeve mounted on GE90-115B engine (top), close up showing cover removed and 60-Nitinol flexure actuators (bottom) (11)

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Figure 9

Conventional flap actuator (11)

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Figure 10

Integrated double acting hinge actuator (11)

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Figure 11

(a) Boeing centrifugal test stand, (b) flow field in wind tunnel, and (c) University of Cincinnati wind tunnel (21)

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Figure 12

Scale model variable area nozzle contracted and expanded 20%

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Figure 13

Variable area nozzle configuration (22)

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Figure 14

Variable area fan nozzle display at Farnborough Air Show 2008

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Figure 15

VAFN panel showing flexure actuator and display with covers off showing SMA flexure actuator




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