Providing Classroom Resources on New & Emerging Technologies
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By Alan J. Pierce EdD
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NASA, FlexSys Inc., & the US Air Force
Have Perfected Morphing Wing Technology
The Wings Change their Shape
without Motors or Hydraulics
This is a synopsis of my May coverage of the topic:
Published May 2019 in TechDirections Magazine
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This month’s column explores a new shape shifting airplane wing technology that has been developed and now tested by NASA, FlexSys Inc., and the US Air Force. Dr. Sridhar Kota is the director of the Compliant Systems Design Laboratory at the University of Michigan. He created a way to create machines and surfaces that can change their shape even though they have no joints. The test plane shown in photo 1 has been outfitted with a set of new wings that have these morphing surfaces.
The morphing surfaces are an integral part of the wing which means you can smoothly run your hand along the wing and you will feel one continuous surface rather than a physical add on. This breakthrough could eventually eliminate the heavy hydraulic systems and motors that are now used to physically change the surface dynamics of all the mechanical parts of an airplane’s wings during the different parts of a flight.
Shape Shifting Airplane Wings
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