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Active Aerodynamic Systems

[+] Author Affiliations
Craig Curtis, Thomas Fuller, Christopher Hashem, Megan Joiner, Benjamin Nadeau

Wentworth Institute of Technology, Boston, MA

Paper No. IMECE2013-65147, pp. V015T16A003; 8 pages
  • ASME 2013 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 15: Safety, Reliability and Risk; Virtual Podium (Posters)
  • San Diego, California, USA, November 15–21, 2013
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5644-4
  • Copyright © 2013 by ASME


Active Aerodynamic Systems (AAS) are aerodynamic control surfaces that use the shape memory mechanism of Nitinol wires which have been embedded into an elastic medium. Nitinol is an alloy of Nickel and Titanium which possesses pseudo-elastic properties, causing it to shrink a considerable amount when it reaches an activation temperature. By achieving accurate control of the Nitinol and integrating it into an airplane wing, a method for inducing rolling rate can be developed which contains fewer moving parts. With a well-developed implementation of this technology, controlled flight would be made more accurate, more responsive, and have lower turbulence. The shape of the system is manipulated using a microprocessor based digital control system. The control circuit will utilize pulse width modulation to precisely control the temperature of the Nitinol wire in order to change the curvature of the control surface with more accuracy. AAS aims to revolutionize the use of shape memory alloys in the design of more organic aerodynamic applications.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME



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