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Design, Development, and Structural Testing of a Camber-Morphing Flying Wing Airplane

[+] Author Affiliations
D. Keidel, U. Fasel, G. Molinari, P. Ermanni

ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

Paper No. SMASIS2017-3826, pp. V002T04A013; 6 pages
  • ASME 2017 Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems
  • Volume 2: Modeling, Simulation and Control of Adaptive Systems; Integrated System Design and Implementation; Structural Health Monitoring
  • Snowbird, Utah, USA, September 18–20, 2017
  • Conference Sponsors: Aerospace Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5826-4
  • Copyright © 2017 by ASME


This work presents the design, optimization, manufacturing, and experimental characterization of a swept, camber-morphing, flying wing. By virtue of a novel actuation concept, combined with a compliant structural concept, camber deflections of sufficient amplitude to achieve controllability in roll and pitch are attained. The optimization, which accounts for aeroelastic interactions in the assessment of the wing behaviour, concurrently optimizes the variables describing the aerodynamic shape, the inner structure, and the actuation strategy. The aerodynamic shape is optimized for a longitudinally stable flying wing, which solely relies on morphing deflections to control its attitude. The morphing deflection can be varied along the span, enabling to attain optimized deformed shapes for any flight condition. To validate the concept and assess its structural characteristics and actuation capabilities, an experimental demonstrator was fabricated. The wing has a total span of 3.2m and a maximum chord length of 23cm. Its structural integrity was assessed through a wing up-bending test, permitting to both characterize its load-carrying capacity and validate the structural model. The actuation capability was assessed by measuring the deformed shapes through a digital image correlation system, enabling to successfully confirm the predictions obtained through a detailed FE model.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME
Topics: Design , Testing , Aircraft , Wings



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