posted on Apr, 1 2019 @ 03:29 PM
Metamaterials are interesting things. Metamaterials
are a composite, of sorts, of multiple
materials made from plastics or metals or some combination of both. Their intended purposes is to create something that doesn't happen naturally in
nature. The most famous of metamaterials for the public is the invisibility cloak
That is far from the only example, just the most famous.
Adaptive wings are something that has been in the works for at least since the 1980s. The idea there is to have wings that adapt their shape to the
flight envelope they are in and even replace the flaps on the wings as well. While there has been a lot of promise for the technology, it hasn't
ever broken out of the test articles into production aircraft. That hasn't stopped groups from pursuing the technology all the same. NASA is one of
the big developers here from their aeronautics side of the house.
MIT has teamed with NASA to test out the marriage of a metamaterial to allow for shape changing wings, the adaptive wing tech, but using
metamaterials. There are carefully placed struts made of shape changing metamaterial placed under triangular shaped pieces in the wind tunnel model.
The metamaterial changes shape, moving the individual triangular pieces of the wing, and in aggregate creating a new wing shape.
As a first proof of concept, it is interesting. It could be a whole lot more if they had a better skin tech on top of the wing, rather than merely
the triangular pieces. However, again, first proof of concept. It'll be interesting if they go anywhere with with or if it ends up being another
tech toy like the other adaptive wing tech.