Parametric structural modelling of fish bone active camber morphing aerofoils

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

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Camber morphing aerofoils have the potential to significantly improve the efficiency of fixed and rotary wing aircraft by providing significant lift control authority to a wing, at a lower drag penalty than traditional plain flaps. A rapid, mesh-independent and two-dimensional analytical model of the fish bone active camber concept is presented. Existing structural models of this concept are one-dimensional and isotropic and therefore unable to capture either material anisotropy or spanwise variations in loading/deformation. The proposed model addresses these shortcomings by being able to analyse composite laminates and solve for static two-dimensional displacement fields. Kirchhoff–Love plate theory, along with the Rayleigh–Ritz method, are used to capture the complex and variable stiffness nature of the fish bone active camber concept in a single system of linear equations. Results show errors between 0.5% and 8% for static deflections under representative uniform pressure loadings and applied actuation moments (except when transverse shear exists), compared to finite element method. The robustness, mesh-independence and analytical nature of this model, combined with a modular, parameter-driven geometry definition, facilitate a fast and automated analysis of a wide range of fish bone active camber concept configurations. This analytical model is therefore a powerful tool for use in trade studies, fluid–structure interaction and design optimisation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2008-2026
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures
Issue number9
Early online date4 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018


  • composite plates
  • Morphing wings
  • orthogonal polynomials
  • penalty method
  • plate theory
  • Rayleigh–Ritz
  • stiffness discontinuities
  • variable camber


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