Design of Adaptive Airfoil Control for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles using Smart Materials 2009-01-3272
Smart material is a suitable candidate for adaptive airfoil design as it can be customized to generate a specific response to a combination of inputs. Shape memory alloy (SMA) in particular is lightweight, produces high force and large deflection which makes it a suitable candidate for actuator in the adaptive airfoil design. By attaching SMA wires inside the airfoil, they can be activated to alter the shape of the airfoil. Placement of the actuator is crucial in obtaining the desired change of the airfoil camber. This paper proposed a design for the morphing wing aimed at changing the camber of the airfoil during cruise in order to increase the lift-to-drag ratio. Finite Element Method (FEM) analysis predicted the deformed airfoil geometry when the SMA wires were fully actuated. Numerical results are presented along with issues related to the fabrication of the morphing wing and implementation of the SMA actuator.