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Research Papers

Development of a Simple Morphing Wing Using Elastomeric Composites as Skins and Actuators

[+] Author and Article Information
Larry D. Peel

Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, MSC 91, 700 University Boulevard, Kingsville, TX 78363-8202larry.peel@tamuk.edu

James Mejia, Ben Narvaez, Kyle Thompson, Madhuri Lingala

Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, MSC 91, 700 University Boulevard, Kingsville, TX 78363-8202

J. Mech. Des 131(9), 091003 (Aug 17, 2009) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3159043 History: Received November 28, 2008; Revised May 08, 2009; Published August 17, 2009

Morphing wings are desired for their ability to reduce drag, to change flight characteristics, and perhaps to reduce weight by eliminating flap/aileron mechanisms. Development of two generations of a morphing wing project is documented. The work shows how a relatively low cost but realistic morphing wing test-bed can be fabricated. Wing skin, actuator, and actuator attachment development are discussed, as well as possible auxetic skin behavior. Aerodynamic characterization of the wing will be discussed in another paper. A very simple morphing wing was fabricated in generation one. The nose was able to elastically camber down approximately 25 deg and the tail 20 deg. Actuation was provided by three pneumatic “rubber muscle actuators” that produce high contractive/tensile forces. Upper and lower wing skins were fabricated from carbon fiber/polyurethane elastomer laminates. Lower skin buckling, actuator air leaks, and actuator attachment problems were resolved in the second generation. A finite element model of the second wing was developed and is being used to refine the morphing wing test-bed. The second wing fabrication methodology enabled smooth elastic cambering with no buckling or waviness in the skins. The nose cambered down 14 deg and the tail cambered down to 13 deg, and is capable of larger deformations. Improved leak-free biomimetic actuators and attach points now include no metal parts and have higher actuation forces due to new braided sheaths and functionally gradient matrix properties.

FIGURES IN THIS ARTICLE
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Copyright © 2009 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
Topics: Actuators , Wings , Force
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Figures

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Figure 1

Paper model of initial morphed wing

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Figure 2

Initial morphed wing

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Figure 3

High force filament wound (FW) rubber muscle actuators used in the first morphing wing

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Figure 4

Drawing of Generation II morphing wing

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Figure 5

Second generation morphing wing with no lower skin buckling

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Figure 6

First functionally gradient rubber muscle actuators, uninflated

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Figure 7

(a) Braided functionally gradient rubber muscle actuators, uninflated. (b) Same actuators inflated to 207 kPa (30 psi).

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Figure 8

Contractive force versus pressure for filament wound RMAs with latex bladders

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Figure 9

Contractive force as a function of pressure for braided RMAs with latex bladders

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Figure 10

Axial force as a function of contraction for B1 and FW2 at a constant pressure of 276 kPa (40 psi)

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Figure 11

Generation II wing morphed at a pressure of 276 kPa (40 psi) on a 51 mm grid

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Figure 12

Poisson's ratios for IM7/RP6444, (Vf=0.4) with a [α/β]s lay-up schedule

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Figure 13

Finite element model of the Gen II wing with current lay-up

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Figure 14

Finite element model of the Gen II wing nose with [±30]s

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