Morphing wingtip structure based on active inflatable honeycomb and shape memory polymer composite skin: a conceptual work

Jian Sun, Linzhe Du, Fabrizio Scarpa, Yanju Liu, Jinsong Leng*

*Corresponding author for this work

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


Morphing wingtip technology could improve the reduction of the induced drag, fuel consumption, and take-off and landing distances in fixed wing configurations. We describe in this work a morphing winglet concept based on active inflatable honeycombs and Shape Memory Polymer Composite (SMPC) skins. The combination of the two materials and structural subsystems allow the winglet deployment, with a morphing skin able to withstand the aerodynamic loading, also through the use of distributed pneumatic muscle fibers. An actuation geometric and mechanical model that represents the morphing wingtip concept is developed and analyzed. A morphing wingtip prototype is also fabricated to demonstrate the kinematics and actuation of the concept. Experiments and simulations show agreement about the output angle/input pressure relationship necessary for the wingtip deployment.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAerospace Science and Technology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 22 Jan 2021

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