One of the key problems in the development of morphing aircraft is the morphing structure, which should be able to carry loads and change its geometry simultaneously. This paper investigates a compliant structure, which has the potential to change the dihedral angle of morphing wing-tip devices. The compliant structure is able to induce deformation by unsymmetrical stiffness allocation and carry aerodynamic loads if the total stiffness of the structure is sufficient.
The concept has been introduced by building a simplified model of the structure and deriving the analytical equations. However, a properly designed stiffness asymmetry, which is optimised, can help to achieve the same deformation with a reduced actuation force.
In this paper, round corrugated panels are used in the compliant structure and the stiffness asymmetry is introduced by changing the geometry of the corrugation panel. A new equivalent model of the round corrugated panel is developed, which takes the axial and bending coupling of the corrugated panel into account. The stiffness matrix of the corrugated panel is obtained using the equivalent model, and then the deflections of the compliant structure can be calculated. The results are compared to those from detailed finite element models built in the commercial software Abaqus. Samples with different geometries were manufactured for experimental tests.
After verifying the equivalent model, optimisation is performed to find the optimum geometries of the compliant structures. The actuation force of a single compliant structure is first optimised, and then the optimisation is performed for a compliant structure consisting of multiple units. A case study is used to show the performance improvement obtained.