Structures, Actuation and Control of Morphing Systems

A special issue of Aerospace (ISSN 2226-4310). This special issue belongs to the section "Aeronautics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2024 | Viewed by 9138

Special Issue Editors

College of Aerospace Engineering, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing 210016, China
Interests: morphing aircraft; smart structures; aircraft design; structural dynamics

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Aerospace Engineering, Swansea University, Swansea SA1 8EN, UK
Interests: morphing aircraft; structural dynamics; structural health monitoring; rotordynamics; smart structures; nonlinear dynamics
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Aeronautic Science and Engineering, Beihang University, Beijing 100191, China
Interests: morphing aircraft; structural dynamics; smart structure; nonlinear dynamics system
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, 

Morphing technologies have the potential to improve aircraft performance and have attracted attention from researchers around the world in the past few decades. Through morphing, aircraft can change shape or even configuration in different flight conditions, which accordingly improves performance in multiple flight phases compared to fixed-geometry aircraft. 

Structures, actuation, and control are among the key factors to design, manufacture, and certificate a promising morphing system. Different to conventional aircraft structures, morphing structures need to simultaneously have load-carrying and shape-changing capabilities, which makes it challenging for them to remain lightweight. Compliant structures and mechanisms have been investigated, and many promising solutions have been proposed. In terms of actuation, it is usually necessary to integrate actuators into structures. Quite a few options have appeared, including conventional electric actuators and innovative smart materials. With actuation integrated, the next step is to consider how to control the shape of the system accurately, considering the effects of structural stiffness, actuation force, and external loads. Finally, investigation of the aeroelastic effects of morphing aircraft and the control approach determined to facilitate shape control accuracy is required. 

We are pleased to announce this Special Issue on “Structures, Actuation, and Control of Morphing Systems” and kindly invite you to submit full research and review papers on the following topics: 

  • Morphing aircraft/rotorcraft;
  • Morphing wings;
  • Morphing structures;
  • Smart structures;
  • Actuation;
  • Aeroelasticity;
  • Flight control.

Dr. Chen Wang
Prof. Dr. Michael I. Friswell
Dr. Jiaying Zhang
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Aerospace is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (5 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

19 pages, 31051 KiB  
Article
A Comprehensive Study on the Aerodynamic Characteristics of Electrically Controlled Rotor Using Lattice Boltzmann Method
by Lingzhi Wang and Taoyong Su
Aerospace 2023, 10(12), 996; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace10120996 - 28 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1361
Abstract
An electrically controlled rotor (ECR) is a kind of swashplateless rotor that implements the primary control via the trailing-edge flap system instead of a swashplate and demonstrates great potential in vibration reduction and noise alleviation. In this paper, the mesoscopic numerical simulation method [...] Read more.
An electrically controlled rotor (ECR) is a kind of swashplateless rotor that implements the primary control via the trailing-edge flap system instead of a swashplate and demonstrates great potential in vibration reduction and noise alleviation. In this paper, the mesoscopic numerical simulation method known as the lattice Boltzmann method (LBM) is employed to investigate the aerodynamic characteristics of an ECR. In the LBM, the discretized Boltzmann transport equation is solved to simulate the macroscopic motion of the fluid, and the D3Q27 model is applied for this study. The effects of the flap deflection on the ECR aerodynamic characteristics can be accurately included with the appropriate refined wall lattice resolution. On this basis, the adaptive wake-refinement strategy is applied to track the evolution of the wake and adequately capture details of the wake structure in the wake flow field. Based on this method, an aerodynamic analysis model for the ECR can be established on the XFlow simulation platform. The aerodynamic analysis model is validated, and the results indicate that the LBM can accurately capture the details of the rotor flow field and calculate blade aerodynamic load, as well as predict the downwash of the rotor. Therefore, based on this model, the ECR aerodynamic characteristics under hovering and forward flight conditions are analyzed, and the effects of the flap deflection on the wake structure, induced inflow, and disc load can be captured. The results indicate that a relatively large flap deflection required to trim the rotor will cause the additional intense flap wake vortex in the ECR wake flow field, apart from the concentrated vorticity at the blade tip and root demonstrated in the conventional rotor wake flow field, and thus significantly change the distributions of the disc-induced inflow and aerodynamic load. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structures, Actuation and Control of Morphing Systems)
Show Figures

Figure 1

16 pages, 4693 KiB  
Article
Aerodynamic Exploration on Rough Airfoil Based on Overlapping Feathers of a Swift-Wing Structure
by Wei Huang, Qing Zhang, Jinsheng Xu, Jindong Wang, Jian Zheng and Xiong Chen
Aerospace 2023, 10(8), 660; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace10080660 - 25 Jul 2023
Viewed by 1395
Abstract
To investigate the flow mechanism of feather-like rough airfoils based on swift wings, computational simulations were employed to explore their overall aerodynamic characteristics in comparison to equivalent smooth airfoils. The study focused on angles of attack ranging from 0° to 20° at low [...] Read more.
To investigate the flow mechanism of feather-like rough airfoils based on swift wings, computational simulations were employed to explore their overall aerodynamic characteristics in comparison to equivalent smooth airfoils. The study focused on angles of attack ranging from 0° to 20° at low Reynolds numbers. The results reveal that the rough airfoil exhibits higher lift and lower drag compared to the smooth airfoil at moderate angles of attack ranging from 6° to 10°, resulting in significantly improved aerodynamic efficiency. Notably, at an angle of attack of 8°, the aerodynamic efficiency is increased by 19%. However, at angles of attack smaller than 6°, the increase in drag outweighs the increase in lift, leading to lower aerodynamic efficiency for the rough airfoil. Conversely, when the angle of attack exceeds 16°, both airfoils experience separated flow-dominated flow fields, resulting in comparable effective aerodynamic shapes and similar aerodynamic efficiencies. Furthermore, the study found that increasing the Reynolds number results in greater pressure differences in the flow field, leading to higher aerodynamic efficiency. These preliminary conclusions are valuable for elucidating the flight mechanisms of bird-feather-like wings and can inform the design or morphing design of bio-inspired micro aerial vehicles in the near future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structures, Actuation and Control of Morphing Systems)
Show Figures

Figure 1

19 pages, 8674 KiB  
Article
Rapid Parametric CAx Tools for Modelling Morphing Wings of Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs)
by Ángel Antonio Rodríguez-Sevillano, María Jesús Casati-Calzada, Rafael Bardera-Mora, Javier Nieto-Centenero, Juan Carlos Matías-García and Estela Barroso-Barderas
Aerospace 2023, 10(5), 467; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace10050467 - 17 May 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1194
Abstract
This paper shows a series of tools that help in the research of morphing micro air vehicles (MAVs). These tools are aimed at generating parametric CAD models of wings in a few seconds that can be used in aerodynamic studies, either via CFD [...] Read more.
This paper shows a series of tools that help in the research of morphing micro air vehicles (MAVs). These tools are aimed at generating parametric CAD models of wings in a few seconds that can be used in aerodynamic studies, either via CFD directly using the model obtained or via wind tunnel through rapid prototyping with 3D printers. It also facilitates the analysis of morphing wings by allowing for the continuous parametric deformation of the airfoils and the wing geometry. In addition, one of the tools greatly simplifies the purely experimental design of this type of vehicle, allowing the transfer of experimental measurements to the computer, generating virtual models with the same deformation as the physical model. This software has two fundamental parts. The first one is the parameterization of the airfoils, for which the CST (Class-Shape Transformation) method will be used. CST coefficients can be modified according to the actuator variable that changes the wing geometry. The second part is the generation of a three-dimensional parametric model of the wing. We used OpenCASCADE technology in its Python version called PythonOCC, which enables the generation of geometries with good surface quality for typical and non-standard wing shapes. Finally, the use of this software for the study of a morphing aircraft will be shown, as well as improvements that could be incorporated in the future to increase its capabilities for the design and analysis of MAVs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structures, Actuation and Control of Morphing Systems)
Show Figures

Figure 1

23 pages, 9863 KiB  
Article
Multidisciplinary Design and Optimization of Variable Camber Wing with Non-Equal Chord
by Yu Wang, Xiang Li, Tingjia Wu and Hailian Yin
Aerospace 2023, 10(4), 336; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace10040336 - 28 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1433
Abstract
Since the taper ratio of most wings is not equal to 1, the beam-disk trailing edge deflection mechanism originally designed for the rectangular wing is not fully applicable to the non-equal chord wing. Moreover, it is not only expected that the wing shape [...] Read more.
Since the taper ratio of most wings is not equal to 1, the beam-disk trailing edge deflection mechanism originally designed for the rectangular wing is not fully applicable to the non-equal chord wing. Moreover, it is not only expected that the wing shape can achieve excellent aerodynamic performance under different flight conditions, but one also needs to consider whether the flexible skin can achieve this deformation. This paper used the honeycomb composite structure with zero Poisson’s ratio as the flexible skin of the trailing edge for the variable camber wing, and designed the beam-disk trailing edge deflection mechanism for the non-equal chord wing. The aerodynamic configuration was optimized considering the deformation capability of the skin, and the multidisciplinary design and optimization method of the variable camber wing with non-equal chord was studied. The results show that the aerodynamic performances of the optimized non-equal chord wings were better than before under all given flight conditions. The flexible skin could withstand the strain caused by the maximum deflection of the trailing edge of the wing, and the weight of the wing structure was reduced by 47.1% compared with the initial design when the structural stiffness and strength were satisfied. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structures, Actuation and Control of Morphing Systems)
Show Figures

Figure 1

23 pages, 9066 KiB  
Article
Design of a Distributedly Active Morphing Wing Based on Digital Metamaterials
by Zhigang Wang, Qi Wu, Yifei Lu, Panpan Bao, Yu Yang, Daochun Li, Xiasheng Sun and Jinwu Xiang
Aerospace 2022, 9(12), 762; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace9120762 - 27 Nov 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2346
Abstract
Morphing wings are a typical application of shape-adaptive structures in aviation, which play an important role in improving the comprehensive performance of an aircraft. However, traditional morphing wings based on purely mechanical, rigid-flexible coupling, or purely flexible structures usually cannot achieve a distributed [...] Read more.
Morphing wings are a typical application of shape-adaptive structures in aviation, which play an important role in improving the comprehensive performance of an aircraft. However, traditional morphing wings based on purely mechanical, rigid-flexible coupling, or purely flexible structures usually cannot achieve a distributed morphing ability and have limitations in weight, intelligence level, and reliability. In this paper, a distributed morphing lattice structure based on variable geometry digital metamaterials is proposed. The innovative structural concept consists of three types of fundamental cells featuring remarkably different mechanical properties and three other types of derived cells. One type of the derived cells embedded with micro-actuators, named an active cell, can autonomously extend or contract. All these cells can be reversibly assembled in a random sequence to form an active distributed morphing lattice structure with the ability to realize different target aerodynamic contours. In addition, taking a simplified variable thickness wing as a designing case, this paper develops a cell combination optimization methodology on the basis of a heuristic algorithm to determine the optimal combination sequence of the six types of basic cells and the actuator inputs of active cells collaboratively. Final results show that the optimized lattice structure can morph its outer surface into a predefined aerodynamic contour with a maximum deviation of 3 mm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structures, Actuation and Control of Morphing Systems)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop