An innovative smart morphing technology that consists of a smart core fabricated from many layers of piezoceramic material, forming a honeycomb structure. Actuations of the walls, which can be performed independently for each cell, will ultimately morph the core shape.
This technology could provide performance advantage through reduced structural requirements and improved handling while reducing power consumption due to the optimised drag characteristics of the morphing wing.
Variable geometries can offer significant advantages to many products and applications as their shape can be gradually and continuously controlled, with less mechanical complexity, than their standard ‘on/off' counterparts.
Morphing Geometry Technology (MGT) is a changeable geometry structure containing an active “smart" core and a passive flexible outer skin. The morphing wing is an aerofoil member that has a “smart" core made of either an array of piezoelectric actuators or shape memory alloys (SMA) depending on the application requirements, together with a glass or carbon fibre reinforced polyurethane composite skin tailored to any required stiffness. The skin is a passive element, fitting perfectly around the core and remaining attached during the deformation.
The piezoelectric material or the SMA honeycomb structure can change shape when heat or an electric field is applied, changing the overall shape of the aerofoil core. The passive flexible skin will move with the outer layer of the core to change the profile of the aerofoil.
The application of different electric fields or temperatures to the core structure can then generate different geometries in the aerofoil.
The piezoelectric actuators can change shape within milliseconds while the SMA core will change in a matter of seconds The honeycomb structure of the core allows high strength at relatively low weight. With the application of piezoelectric actuators, the geometric change is virtually instantaneous, making the technology applicable to high speed applications as well as conventional low speed usage.
Intellectual property information
This technology is patented in Europe (EP2097314) and in the US (US8186631).
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