Design of a Morphing Bi-Stable Composite Air Intake 2015-01-0066
A morphing ram-air intake, capable of deploying from a flat, closed surface to an open state is investigated. Via geometric and material optimisation, an origami-inspired folding structure is developed to exhibit bi-stable behaviour. An iterative finite element design process was conducted, noting the effects of the critical design properties of geometry, bending stiffness and material strain limits on bi-stability and the achievable geometric shape change. As a first step, thermoplastic polyurethane elastomer materials are proposed while increased stiffness by fibre reinforcements are considered at a later design stage and evaluated under aerodynamic loading. The bi-stable structure is capable of remaining in either open or closed stable configurations without sustained actuation. The ability to retract the intake when not required has the potential to reduce drag. It is envisioned that such a concept may be readily adopted within automotive and aerospace applications.