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Wings of the future

Objective

The project moves starting from a very simple concept: let us think of an airplane as a great body with its end structures that could have the possibility to change their shape as they had internal nerve endings and muscles.
The aerodynamic shape of aircraft lifting surfaces must change during the flight, owing to the aerodynamic requirements of the different maneuvers (ascent and descent operations, yaw). Mobile surfaces are introduced in conventional wings to this purpose (ailerons, flaps, slats etc.), introducing at the same time inevitably additional weight, mechanisms, sources of vibrations and other well known limits.
An interesting alternative to mobile surfaces could be represented by “self shaping wings”, i.e. wings the surface of which can be elastically deformed through its entire length, and managed in order to obtain the required lifting profile. Such wing performances could be obtained through the application of composite hybrid materials where layers of new generation of piezoelectric fibers are drowned, and trigged by relatively low voltage.
Target of the research is the deep understanding of the technical feasibility and of the limits of such an application. Depending on the results, “self shaping wings” (or “Future Wings”) could be more deeply investigated and designed in order to replace ailerons, slats, tail wings, rudders and, probably, even flaps: the relevant technology could have really wide fields of applications (helicopter rotor blades, satellite panels, etc.).
Project objectives will be pursued developing at first theoretical models and computational new generation algorithms aimed at designing, optimizing and afterwards manufacturing a scaled model of “Future Wing” on which experimental tests will be carried out in order to understand the viability of the original idea, which has the potential to bring a radical new approach to the design of flying vehicles lifting surfaces configuration.

Field of science

  • /engineering and technology/mechanical engineering/vehicle engineering/aerospace engineering/aircraft/rotorcraft
  • /engineering and technology/materials engineering/fibers
  • /engineering and technology/mechanical engineering/vehicle engineering/aerospace engineering/aircraft

Call for proposal

FP7-AAT-2012-RTD-L0
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

CP-FP - Small or medium-scale focused research project

Coordinator

UNIVERSITA DI PISA
Address
Lungarno Pacinotti 43/44
56126 Pisa
Italy
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 198 200
Administrative Contact
Immacolata Viva (Mrs.)

Participants (3)

PIAGGIO AERO INDUSTRIES SPA
Italy
EU contribution
€ 52 950
Address
Largo Angelo Fochetti 29
00185 Roma
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Administrative Contact
Alessandro Morando (Dr.)
SMART MATERIAL GMBH
Germany
EU contribution
€ 217 200
Address
Lobtauer Strasse 69
01159 Dresden
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Administrative Contact
Jan Kunzmann (Dr.)
ICHROME LTD
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 130 800
Address
20 Portland Heights Dean Street
BS2 8RD Bristol
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Administrative Contact
Luca Lanzi (Dr.)