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Saturday 31st July 2021 06:27 AM

NASA and MIT Reveal New Shape-Changing Wing Design


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Developed basically by engineers from NASA and MIT, the wing is made from thousands of triangular components with matchstick-like struts, bolted together in a lattice framework. This lattice is then covered in a thin layer of polymer material similar to the struts. The resulting wing structure is comprised mostly of empty space, forming a mechanical meta-material that merges the severeness of a rubber-like polymer with the lightness and low density of an aerogel. According to the analysis, the wing has a density of just 5.6kg per cubic metre.

 

What’s more, the shape of the wing behaves passively to its environmental forces, with the stiffness in various struts carefully calibrated to achieve the planned effect. Sections of the wing bend in response to the various phases of flight, offering a more optimal performance at take-off, cruise and landing. The research is introduced in the journal Smart Materials and Structures.

 

“ We’re able to build efficiency by matching the shape to the loads at many angles of attack,” said lead author Nicholas Cramer, a research engineer at NASA Ames in California. “ We’re able to build the exact same behaviour you would do truly, but we did it passively.”

 

A 1m version of the wing was manufactured a few years ago to confirm the underlying principle, with a waterjet used to fabricate the individual components. This current investigation saw the team develop a 5m prototype, using injection moulding to greatly speed up the manufacturing process. The struts still had to be put together by hand, but the team believes this step could be automated using assembly robots, and this is the subject of an upcoming research project. As the wing is made from thousands of sub-units, it also opens up the possibility of totally new aircraft designs.

 

“You can make any geometry you want,” said Benjamin Jenett, a graduate student in MIT’s Centre for Bits and Atoms. “The fact that most aircraft are the same shape” — a tube with wings — “is because of expense. It’s not always the most efficient shape.”

 

During testing at NASA’s high-speed wind tunnel at Langley Research Centre, the wing performed slightly better than predicted, according to Jenett. He also claims the same fabrication system for the wing structure could be used to build blades for wind turbines, facilitating on-site assembly and avoiding the problems associated with transporting ever-longer blades.




This article is originally posted on theengineer.co.uk


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This is the old design: Please remove this section after work on the functionalities for new design

Posted on : Saturday 31st July 2021 06:27 AM

NASA and MIT Reveal New Shape-Changing Wing Design


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Posted by  Tronserve admin
image cap

Developed basically by engineers from NASA and MIT, the wing is made from thousands of triangular components with matchstick-like struts, bolted together in a lattice framework. This lattice is then covered in a thin layer of polymer material similar to the struts. The resulting wing structure is comprised mostly of empty space, forming a mechanical meta-material that merges the severeness of a rubber-like polymer with the lightness and low density of an aerogel. According to the analysis, the wing has a density of just 5.6kg per cubic metre.

 

What’s more, the shape of the wing behaves passively to its environmental forces, with the stiffness in various struts carefully calibrated to achieve the planned effect. Sections of the wing bend in response to the various phases of flight, offering a more optimal performance at take-off, cruise and landing. The research is introduced in the journal Smart Materials and Structures.

 

“ We’re able to build efficiency by matching the shape to the loads at many angles of attack,” said lead author Nicholas Cramer, a research engineer at NASA Ames in California. “ We’re able to build the exact same behaviour you would do truly, but we did it passively.”

 

A 1m version of the wing was manufactured a few years ago to confirm the underlying principle, with a waterjet used to fabricate the individual components. This current investigation saw the team develop a 5m prototype, using injection moulding to greatly speed up the manufacturing process. The struts still had to be put together by hand, but the team believes this step could be automated using assembly robots, and this is the subject of an upcoming research project. As the wing is made from thousands of sub-units, it also opens up the possibility of totally new aircraft designs.

 

“You can make any geometry you want,” said Benjamin Jenett, a graduate student in MIT’s Centre for Bits and Atoms. “The fact that most aircraft are the same shape” — a tube with wings — “is because of expense. It’s not always the most efficient shape.”

 

During testing at NASA’s high-speed wind tunnel at Langley Research Centre, the wing performed slightly better than predicted, according to Jenett. He also claims the same fabrication system for the wing structure could be used to build blades for wind turbines, facilitating on-site assembly and avoiding the problems associated with transporting ever-longer blades.




This article is originally posted on theengineer.co.uk

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nasa mit new shape changing wing design