Design optimization of a morphing flap device using variable stiffness materials

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)


Morphing structures that are both light-weight and remain conformal to the airfoil are promising candidates for the next generation of aircraft high-lift systems. Notably, variable stiffness materials have also been studied for the application in morphing structures for their potential to enhance structural performance. In this study, a design optimization has been conducted for a morphing trailing edge using a honeycomb core of axial variable stiffness. Utilizing variable stiffness materials in morphing trailing edge leads to a possible reduction in the actuation energy requirement and also enables geometric control of the deformed morphing trailing edge, resulting in enhanced aerodynamic and aeroacoustic performance of the airfoil. Firstly, effects of geometric changes in the deformed morphing trailing edge on the aerodynamic performance of airfoils are characterised through wind tunnel tests. A design optimization is then carried out to inversely identify the honeycomb core axial stiffness parameters which match the target trailing edge deformation shape. In the optimization scheme, a layer-wise sandwich beam model is developed to predict the structural behaviour of the ap with the material stiffness variation considered. Two-dimensional uid/structure static aeroelastic interaction analysis coupling the beam model to an aerodynamic routine is performed in the design optimization using chosen material properties. Optimization results indicate that variable stiffness material provides performance improvement for morphing structures and the present model can be used in the preliminary design of morphing trailing edge devices using variable stiffness materials.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication24th AIAA/AHS Adaptive Structures Conference
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc. (AIAA)
ISBN (Print)9781624103964
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event24th AIAA/AHS Adaptive Structures Conference, 2016 - San Diego, United States
Duration: 4 Jan 20168 Jan 2016


Conference24th AIAA/AHS Adaptive Structures Conference, 2016
CountryUnited States
CitySan Diego

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Design optimization of a morphing flap device using variable stiffness materials'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this