Morphing wings can also be useful for military defense and homeland security when applied to unmanned surveillance planes that need to fly quickly to
a distant point, loiter at slow speed for a period of time and then return, Lesieutre explains. Flying efficiently at high speed requires small,
perhaps, swept wings. Flying at slow speed for long periods requires long narrow wings. The morphing wings designed by the Penn State team can change
both wing area and cross section shape to accommodate both slow and fast flight requirements.
So how did these engineers design these morphing wings?
The essential features of the Penn State concept are a small-scale, efficient compliant cellular truss structure, highly distributed tendon actuation
and a segmented skin. The cellular truss structure is the skeleton of the wing.
The abused substance is called Metal Rubber, and, according to NanoSonic, its particular properties make it unique in the world of material chemistry.
As a result, the company’s small office has been flooded with calls from Fortune 500 companies and government agencies eager to test Metal Rubber’s
use in everything from artificial muscles to smart clothes to shape-shifting airplane wings.
At this stage, however, NanoSonic is busy meeting the demand for its 12-inch-by-12-inch samples, which take custom-built robots up to three days to
create. That’s speedy, if you consider that Metal Rubber, a product of nanotechnology, must be fabricated molecule by molecule.
Raytheon Developing Morphing Wing Structures for Cruise Missiles
TUCSON, Ariz., April 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) is
developing a revolutionary aircraft structure technology that could change in
flight to adapt to mission requirements, targets and other changes in battle.
Raytheon received a $4.1 million contract from the Defense Advanced
Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for its work under the Morphing Aircraft
Structures program. Raytheon is proposing adaptive wing technology for its
cruise missile mission vehicles. Prototypes are scheduled to be tested in
Morphing wings is the first in a series of steps to permit a cruise missile
to travel at high speeds to a target area, loiter and then move to another
target area, with speed changes from 0.3 Mach to 3.0 Mach. The technology
ultimately could be applied to other platforms and future air vehicles, manned
Airplane wings that change shape like a bird's have scales like a fish
Morphing HECS wing: showing the unmorphed and morphiged configurations. The wing tips are bent downwards to provide yaw control.(Courtsey: NASA
To maximize a plane's efficiency over a broader range of flight speeds, Penn State engineers have developed a concept for morphing airplane wings
that change shape like a bird's and are covered with a segmented outer skin like the scales of a fish.
Dr. George Lesieutre, professor of aerospace engineering who leads the project, says, "Airplanes today are a design compromise. They have a
fixed-wing structure that is not ideal for every part of a typical flight. Being able to change the shape of the wings to reduce drag and power, which
vary with flight speed, could optimize fuel consumption so that commercial planes could fly more efficiently."
Here is everything you need to know about the "Morphing wing". Untill more info comes out.
[edit on 8-10-2004 by SpittinCobra]