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Design and Demonstration of a Flexible Matrix Composite Actuated Flap in a UAV

[+] Author Affiliations
Michael Heim, Kyle Pyne, Adrian Bialy, Meghan Burns, Glendon Mohan, Noah Beaty, Connor MacNeal, Colby Weit, E. Brady Doepke, Chris Kevorkian, Michael Philen, Craig Woolsey

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA

Paper No. SMASIS2015-9033, pp. V002T04A020; 7 pages
doi:10.1115/SMASIS2015-9033
From:
  • ASME 2015 Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems
  • Volume 2: Integrated System Design and Implementation; Structural Health Monitoring; Bioinspired Smart Materials and Systems; Energy Harvesting
  • Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA, September 21–23, 2015
  • Conference Sponsors: Aerospace Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5730-4
  • Copyright © 2015 by ASME

abstract

Morphing wings are of great interest in the aerospace community. Control surfaces with continuously variable geometry can increase the efficiency of aircraft aerodynamics. This research focuses on demonstrating a morphing flap on a small span-wise section of the trailing edge in a wing for a small unmanned air vehicle (UAV). The flaps used flexible matrix composite (FMC) actuators embedded in a flexible structure, rather than hinged control surfaces with conventional actuators. This created a local aerodynamic control force whose effect can be measured using the UAV’s on-board flight control system. After multiple design iterations, in which the FMC actuator material and structure were varied, the final design incorporates a carbon fiber frame with an actuator system embedded in a foam matrix. The FMC control surfaces were successfully demonstrated in flight tests on the eSPAARO unmanned aerial vehicle.

Copyright © 2015 by ASME

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