Seamless Active Morphing Wing

The SmartX-Alpha in the Open Jet Facility of Delft University of Technology.

Active morphing indicates the ability to transform structural shape in a controlled way. Inspired by birds, the active morphing wing can adapt its shape in different flight conditions for optimizing the aerodynamic performance. Moreover, wing morphing surfaces can be used as direct lift control devices for alleviating the structural loads caused by gusts and maneuvers. Furthermore, wing morphing can execute flight control commands with reduced drag.

The Smart and Aeroelastic Structure research group in Delft University of Technology has designed, manufactured, and tested a seamless active morphing wing named SmartX-Alpha. It has six translation-induced camber morphing trailing edge modules, interconnected seamlessly by elastomer materials. Each one of the modules is executed by two independent servos, which allows both camber and twist morphings. The wing is made in fiberGlass weave material, and its laminate design is optimized by a fluid-structure interaction tool.

The SmartX-Alpha prototype won the Student Hardware Competition in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) 2020 conference on smart materials, adaptive structures and intelligent systems. If you would like to know more, please check the SmartX-Alpha video and a journalistic article entitled Flexible wing flies with feeling.

Xuerui Wang
Xuerui Wang
Assistant Professor in Aerospace Engineering