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Title: Development of an active morphing wing with novel adaptive skin for aircraft control and performance
Author: Kaygan, Erdogan
ISNI:       0000 0004 7658 0419
Awarding Body: Brunel University London
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2016
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An investigation into an adaptable morphing concept for enhancing aircraft control and performance is described in this thesis. The impetus for the work was multi-legend. Initially, the work involved identifying and optimizing winglets on a swept wing baseline configuration to enhance the controllability and aerodynamic efficiency of unmanned aerial vehicles. Moreover, the other objective was to develop a realistic skin for a morphing aircraft concept that would allow subtle, more efficient shape changes to improve aircraft efficiency. In this regard, preliminary computations were performed with Athena Vortex Lattice modelling in which varying degrees of twist, swept and dihedral angle were considered. The results from this work indicated that if adaptable winglets were employed on small scale UAVs improvements in both aircraft control and performance could be achieved. Subsequent to this computational study, novel morphing wing and/or winglet mechanisms were developed to provide efficient shape changing as well as to develop a novel alternative method for a morphing skin. This new technique was numerically optimized in ANSYS Mechanical, experimentally investigated in a wind tunnel, and also compared with a baseline aileron configuration. Afterwards, flight testing was performed with an Extra 300 78 inch remote controller aircraft with the results being compared against existing fixed wing configurations. After evaluating numerical results, from various winglet configurations investigated in AVL, selected cases were found to provide good evidence that adaptable winglets, through morphing, could provide benefits for small scale aircraft control and performance as well as offering an acceptable alternative aircraft control methodology to the current discrete, 3-axis control philosophies. Using ANSYS Mechanical for structural analysis, rib configurations were also optimised in terms of weight, stress, and displacement, as well as required twist deformation magnitudes (±6° of twist achieved). Furthermore, the skin was found to be rigid with a low rate of surface wrinkling promoting a low drag surface. Ultimately, the viability of this novel concept mechanism was validated through flight testing with similar roll authority achieved compared to traditional aileron configuration. Finally, a morphing concept also provided potential shape changing performance with smooth aerodynamic surface finish. Leading to the possibility of the concept is being a viable skin for morphing application.
Supervisor: Gatto, A. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Morphing skin ; Morphing wing ; Wing twist ; Rolling moment ; Adaptive aircraft