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The smart morphing winglet driven by the piezoelectric Macro Fiber Composite actuator

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 January 2022

X. Chen
Affiliation:
State Key Laboratory for Strength and Vibration of Mechanical Structures, School of Aerospace Engineering, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an, China
J. Liu
Affiliation:
State Key Laboratory for Strength and Vibration of Mechanical Structures, School of Aerospace Engineering, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an, China
Q. Li*
Affiliation:
State Key Laboratory for Strength and Vibration of Mechanical Structures, School of Aerospace Engineering, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an, China
*
*Corresponding author. Email: qunli@mail.xjtu.edu.cn

Abstract

A smart morphing winglet driven by piezoelectric Macro Fiber Composite (MFC) is designed to adjust cant angle autonomously for various flight conditions. The smart morphing winglet is composed of the MFC actuator, DC-DC converter, power supply, winglet part and wing part. A hinge is designed to transfer the bending deformation of intelligent MFC bending actuator to rotation of the winglet structure so as to achieve the adaptive cant angle. Experimental and numerical work are conducted to evaluate the performance of smart morphing winglet. It is demonstrated that the proposed intelligent MFC bending actuator has an excellent bending performance and load resistance. This smart morphing winglet exhibits the excellent characteristic of flexibility on large deformation and lightweight. Moreover, a series of wind tunnel tests are performed, which demonstrate that the winglet driven by intelligent MFC bending actuator produces sufficient deformation in various wind speed. At high wind speed, the cant angle of the winglet can reach 16 degrees, which is still considered to be very useful for improving the aerodynamic performance of the aircraft. The aerodynamic characteristics are investigated by wind tunnel tests with various attack angles. As a result, when the morphing winglet is actuated, the lift-to-drag ratio could vary up to 11.9% and 6.4%, respectively, under wind speeds of 5.4 and 8.5m/s. Meanwhile, different flight phases such as take-off, cruise and landing are considered to improve aerodynamic performance by adjusting the cant angle of winglet. The smart morphing winglet varies the aerofoil autonomously by controlling the low winglet device input voltage to remain optimal aerodynamic performance during the flight process. It demonstrates the feasibility of piezoelectric composites driving intelligent aircraft.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Royal Aeronautical Society

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