Morphing elastically lofted transition for active camber control surfaces

Benjamin K S Woods*, Laura L Parsons, A B N Coles, James H S Fincham, Michael I Friswell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
484 Downloads (Pure)


This paper introduces a compliant morphing flap transition that seeks to address a long-standing source of noise and drag in the design of aircraft wings – the gap present at the spanwise ends of the control surfaces. These gaps create large discontinuities in the flow and allow for pressure leakage from the lower to upper wing surface, generating significant amounts of vorticity, noise, and drag. The concept introduced here seals this gap with a smooth, three-dimensional morphing transition section that elastically lofts between the rigid wing and moving control surface in a passive and continuous manner. Previous transition concepts are first discussed, followed by establishment of an initial desired transition shape. Computational fluid dynamics analysis of the desired transition shape indicates both an increase in lift and a decrease in drag. The morphing, elastically lofted transition concept proposed here will then be introduced. In this concept, the complex three-dimensional shape change required is created with a novel structural architecture that combines material and geometric compliance with geometric bend-twist coupling. The concept design and operating principles will be introduced, relevant geometric parameters will be derived, and an initial prototype demonstrator capable of large deflections and smooth transition surfaces will be shown.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-448
Number of pages10
JournalAerospace Science and Technology
Early online date29 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


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