Browse Publications Technical Papers 2013-01-2095
2013-09-17

Optimization of an Unmanned Aerial System' Wing Using a Flexible Skin Morphing Wing 2013-01-2095

In this paper, we describe a practically efficient methodology of improving the aerodynamic characteristics of an UAS's wing using a morphing approach. We have replaced a part of the original wings' upper and lower surfaces with a flexible, composite material skin whose shape can be modified, according to the variable airflow conditions, using internally placed actuators. The optimal displacements of the actuators, as functions of the external flow characteristics, are determined using a genetic algorithm based optimizer, coupled with a three - dimensional numerical extension of the classical lifting line model for estimating the modified wing aerodynamic coefficients. We have used the optimization tool to decrease the overall drag coefficient of a military grade UAS' wing equipped with the flexible skin. We have obtained good quality solutions for only a fraction of the computational cost needed when performing viscous flow field calculations.

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