Development of a smart wing

Parsaoran Hutapea (Department of Mechanical Engineering, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)
Jinho Kim (Department of Mechanical Engineering, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)
Andrew Guion (Department of Mechanical Engineering, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)
Charlie Hanna (Department of Mechanical Engineering, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)
Noah Heulitt (Department of Mechanical Engineering, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology

ISSN: 0002-2667

Publication date: 4 July 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The objective of this paper is to develop an actuation system utilizing smart materials such as shape memory alloys (SMA) to control the position of an aircraft's flaps.

Design/methodology/approach

The proposed smart wing consisted of SMA springs that were fixed at one end to the wing box toward the leading edge of the airfoil. The other end of each spring was attached tangentially to a rotating cylinder fixed to the flap. The springs were arranged in an upper and a lower layer to cause rotation of the flap in both the upward and downward directions. The spring actuators were controlled by the introduction of heat resulting from the applied current. A prototype of the smart wing was developed and tested to demonstrate the design concept.

Findings

A prototype of a smart actuation system for controlling the flaps of an aircraft was successfully developed. Through the experimental and theoretical analyses conducted, the design was validated and showed strong potential for future application.

Practical implications

The proposed concept can be applied to other aircraft systems such as ailerons, slats, rudders and elevators.

Originality/value

The prototype of a smart wing is unique. It utilizes smart materials for aircraft flap actuation. The concept can be applied on ailerons, slats, rudders and elevators.

Keywords

Citation

Hutapea, P., Kim, J., Guion, A., Hanna, C. and Heulitt, N. (2008), "Development of a smart wing", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 80 No. 4, pp. 439-444. https://doi.org/10.1108/00022660810882791

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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