The recent development of active materials and active structures has been a driving factor for their use in aircraft. New technologies can be investigated in order to actively change aircraft geometry in flight. However the modification of geometry in flight has been used in aircraft, new adaptive mechanisms for active shape changes using the active materials and structures can be obtained improving the performance of an aircraft. This way an aircraft could have the ability to continuously transform into a configuration that is optimal for its current flight condition or different missions. The smooth and active variation of an airfoil camber is a possible morphing mechanism for an adaptive aircraft. Unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) and micro air vehicles (MAVs) are application systems where the morphing technology will have impact. The main motivation in this proposal is the design, fabrication and wind tunnel tests of a variable camber airfoil employing a piezoceramic composite actuator known as Macro-Fiber Composite (MFC). The experimental aerodynamic performance of the morphing airfoil will be verified against the experimental results obtained for a fixed geometry airfoil and results obtained for an airfoil with a trailing edge hinged control surface.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: