Compliant vs Kinematic Morphing Architectures: Complementary or Alternatives?

A special issue of Biomimetics (ISSN 2313-7673).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 March 2024 | Viewed by 782

Special Issue Editors

Associate Professor, Course of Aerospace Engineering, FGA-Campus, UnB, Brasilia 72444-240, DF, Brazil
Interests: smart materials; space systems; photonic sensors; adaptive solutions; biomimetics
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Industrial Engineering—Aerospace Division, University of Naples “Federico II”, Via Claudio, 21, 80125 Napoli, NA, Italy
Interests: smart structures; smart aircraft technologies; morphing structures; structural dynamics; vibration control; dynamic aeroelasticity; non-linear dynamics; mechanics and experimental dynamics
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
CIRA, Italian Aerospace Research Centre, Via Maiorise, 81043 Capua, Italy
Interests: morphing wings; smart materials; noise and vibration control
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Guest Editor
Aviation Industry Corporation of China, Beijing, China
Interests: morphing structures; intelligent methods of structural damage detection; structural state monitoring; evaluation on full-scale aircrafts

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Morphing systems have been extensively researched, with several achieving advanced technology levels and, in some cases, undergoing flight testing. In 2015, flight tests were conducted on the Gulfstream III jet within the Adaptive Compliant Trailing Edge project, a project led by NASA in partnership with Flexsys and the (US) AFRL, among others. These achievements follow a tradition whereby types of morphing architectures are widely studied and then undergo operational testing, as in the 1980s and 1990s when a mission-adaptive wing was mounted onto the F111. Following each successful trial, such an adaptive technology experiences a pause in experimental activities and is returned to development. At present, it can be stated that, although the feasibility of designing and deploying adaptive wings has been proven, certain aspects must be further investigated before these challenging systems can be really deployed in a context of regular aircraft and broadly exploited on the commercial market.

The need to fully develop this technology has become more urgent in recent years. With the scenario evolution, it has become not just a matter of further improving the already excellent state-of-the-art aircraft efficiency, but also of addressing new challenges proposed by the modified needs and demands of the air transport. The increased use of UAV, as well the expected rise of the urban air mobility, offer considerable benefits through systems capable of adapting the wing shape (which can extend to other aerodynamic surfaces, such us tail-planes) without reverting to standard, massive and bulky, hyperlift devices.

As the proposed architectures are investigated, it may be concluded that two kinds of logics are generally implemented: kinematic and compliant. Upon closer examination, it becomes clear that these arrangements are heavily contaminated by each other. The explanation is straightforward: while kinematic devices namely ensure the full controllability of the target shape, compliant systems aim to achieve a smooth geometry in any configuration. This allows them to fully utilize their adaptability to the greatest possible extent. At this stage, it is believed that engineering should ponder over a driving question for its future developments: can kinematic and compliant visions be merged into a single approach, or should their incompatibility be retained, each with their respective strengths and weaknesses? Perhaps the limitations hindering the full development of morphing systems can be summarized by the antagonistic perspectives these architectures have been historically drawn from; however, combining their positives through a stereoscopic fusion may reveal unforeseen opportunities that would otherwise remain out of reach.

This Special Issue wants to provide a further stimulus to researchers involved in this fascinating discipline, encouraging them to expose the value of kinematic or compliant morphing systems,  highlighting their peculiar advantages and limitations. Their contribution may inspire the development of novel strategies and finally amalgamate these systems, overcoming their inherent drawbacks while preserving their undiscussed potentialities. Where and if applicable, the use of smart materials should be considered as a possible key factor in ensuring adequate structural resistance and continuous shape variability.

Based on these considerations, articles on one or more of the following topics are mainly searched for:

  • Morphing kinematic architectures;
  • Morphing compliant architectures;
  • Hybrid morphing kinematic-compliant architectures;
  • Integrated morphing skins;
  • Integrated actuator networks;
  • Integrated sensor networks;
  • Integrated control systems;
  • Aeroelastic issues of adaptive aircraft;
  • Performance of adaptive aircraft;
  • Ground testing of morphing systems;
  • Scaling issues of morphing systems;
  • Fight testing of morphing systems;
  • Integration of morphing architectures into aircraft systems;
  • Requirements vs regulations;
  • SWOT assessment of morphing systems;
  • TRL assessment of morphing systems;
  • FHA assessment of morphing systems.

Dr. Antonio Concilio
Dr. Cristian Vendittozzi
Dr. Rosario Pecora
Dr. Salvatore Ameduri
Dr. Yu Yang
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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  • morphing
  • morphing kinematic systems
  • morphing compliant systems
  • morphing skins
  • adaptive structures
  • smart structures
  • smart materials
  • actuator networks
  • sensor networks
  • control systems
  • morphing aircraft aeroelasticity
  • morphing aircraft performance
  • adaptive structures experimental characterization
  • ground tests of morphing systems
  • flight tests of morphing systems
  • SWOT assessment of morphing systems
  • TRL assessment of morphing systems
  • FHA assessment of morphing systems

Published Papers (1 paper)

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28 pages, 22730 KiB  
Numerical Simulation of the Transient Flow around the Combined Morphing Leading-Edge and Trailing-Edge Airfoil
Biomimetics 2024, 9(2), 109; - 12 Feb 2024
Viewed by 471
An integrated approach to active flow control is proposed by finding both the drooping leading edge and the morphing trailing edge for flow management. This strategy aims to manage flow separation control by utilizing the synergistic effects of both control mechanisms, which we [...] Read more.
An integrated approach to active flow control is proposed by finding both the drooping leading edge and the morphing trailing edge for flow management. This strategy aims to manage flow separation control by utilizing the synergistic effects of both control mechanisms, which we call the combined morphing leading edge and trailing edge (CoMpLETE) technique. This design is inspired by a bionic porpoise nose and the flap movements of the cetacean species. The motion of this mechanism achieves a continuous, wave-like, variable airfoil camber. The dynamic motion of the airfoil’s upper and lower surface coordinates in response to unsteady conditions is achieved by combining the thickness-to-chord (t/c) distribution with the time-dependent camber line equation. A parameterization model was constructed to mimic the motion around the morphing airfoil at various deflection amplitudes at the stall angle of attack and morphing actuation start times. The mean properties and qualitative trends of the flow phenomena are captured by the transition SST (shear stress transport) model. The effectiveness of the dynamically morphing airfoil as a flow control approach is evaluated by obtaining flow field data, such as velocity streamlines, vorticity contours, and aerodynamic forces. Different cases are investigated for the CoMpLETE morphing airfoil, which evaluates the airfoil’s parameters, such as its morphing location, deflection amplitude, and morphing starting time. The morphing airfoil’s performance is analyzed to provide further insights into the dynamic lift and drag force variations at pre-defined deflection frequencies of 0.5 Hz, 1 Hz, and 2 Hz. The findings demonstrate that adjusting the airfoil camber reduces streamwise adverse pressure gradients, thus preventing significant flow separation. Although the trailing-edge deflection and its location along the chord influence the generation and separation of the leading-edge vortex (LEV), these results show that the combined effect of the morphing leading edge and trailing edge has the potential to mitigate flow separation. The morphing airfoil successfully contributes to the flow reattachment and significantly increases the maximum lift coefficient (cl,max)). This work also broadens its focus to investigate the aerodynamic effects of a dynamically morphing leading and trailing edge, which seamlessly transitions along the side edges. The aerodynamic performance analysis is investigated across varying morphing frequencies, amplitudes, and actuation times. Full article
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