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Topology Optimization-Based Design of a Compliant Aircraft Wing for Morphing Leading and Trailing Edges

[+] Author Affiliations
Pakeeruraju Podugu

Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, KA; DRDO, Hyderabad, AP, India

G. K. Ananthasuresh

Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, KA, India

Paper No. IMECE2010-38159, pp. 1099-1107; 9 pages
  • ASME 2010 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 3: Design and Manufacturing, Parts A and B
  • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, November 12–18, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4427-4
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


In this paper, we present a methodology for designing a compliant aircraft wing, which can morph from a given airfoil shape to another given shape under the actuation of internal forces and can offer sufficient stiffness in both configurations under the respective aerodynamic loads. The least square error in displacements, Fourier descriptors, geometric moments, and moment invariants are studied to compare candidate shapes and to pose the optimization problem. Their relative merits and demerits are discussed in this paper. The ‘frame finite element ground structure’ approach is used for topology optimization and the resulting solutions are converted to continuum solutions. The introduction of a notch-like feature is the key to the success of the design. It not only gives a good match for the target morphed shape for the leading and trailing edges but also minimizes the extension of the flexible skin that is to be put on the airfoil frame. Even though linear small-displacement elastic analysis is used in optimization, the obtained designs are analysed for large displacement behavior. The methodology developed here is not restricted to aircraft wings; it can be used to solve any shape-morphing requirement in flexible structures and compliant mechanisms.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME



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