MIT and NASA engineers demonstrate a new kind of airplane wing

Flyaway

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MIT and NASA engineers demonstrate a new kind of airplane wing

A team of engineers has built and tested a radically new kind of airplane wing, assembled from hundreds of tiny identical pieces. The wing can change shape to control the plane’s flight, and could provide a significant boost in aircraft production, flight, and maintenance efficiency, the researchers say.
The new approach to wing construction could afford greater flexibility in the design and manufacturing of future aircraft. The new wing design was tested in a NASA wind tunnel and is described today in a paper in the journal Smart Materials and Structures, co-authored by research engineer Nicholas Cramer at NASA Ames in California; MIT alumnus Kenneth Cheung SM ’07 PhD ’12, now at NASA Ames; Benjamin Jenett, a graduate student in MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms; and eight others.
Instead of requiring separate movable surfaces such as ailerons to control the roll and pitch of the plane, as conventional wings do, the new assembly system makes it possible to deform the whole wing, or parts of it, by incorporating a mix of stiff and flexible components in its structure. The tiny subassemblies, which are bolted together to form an open, lightweight lattice framework, are then covered with a thin layer of similar polymer material as the framework.
 

Flyaway

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sferrin said:
Looks like a giant headache.

Good to see a positive and well thought out response to new technology. ::)
 

antigravite

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sferrin said:
Flyaway said:
sferrin said:
Looks like a giant headache.

Good to see a positive and well thought out response to new technology. ::)

Cold Fusion was "new technology" too.

[OFF TOPIC]

Hmm… I need answer this one and wish it does not swerve off-topic. Cold Fusion was a ill-named catchphrase. It actually was the discovery of a new class of chemically-induced nuclear phenomena, with many unknowns, including the basic choice of material supplies (impacting experimental outcome) which took years to understand. Some of my old friends, having nothing to loose (read my lips: careers), got involved in this, hands-on, and performed actually working experiments. This field is a new one, and I see it as basic science at its best.Those involved in it got excited as Priestley was in 18th century but there is along way to go. Missing more experiments. And a Lavoisier to unlock the magic of theoretical explanation. This is beautiful science… very far from technology yet.

[/OFF TOPIC]

A.
 

coanda

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Of the lego airplane? Yes, they've had uav sized flying wings in a wind tunnel.

I read tje article in Av. Week. Seems like a massive faff.
 

sublight is back

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It automatically changes its shape to respond to aerodynamic loading at different angles of attack, to gain efficiency or performance.

If this isn't pretty amazing technology, I don't know what is...
 

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sferrin

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sublight is back said:
If this isn't pretty amazing technology, I don't know what is...

And yet. . .
 

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AeroFranz

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Until this is flown on a representative aircraft, in the representative environment, and demonstrates advantages, it's a science project.
Neat, but still a science project.
That's not to say that something like this may not find an application eventually, but i'd be surprised if you made an entire airplane, or even an entire wing out of this. Today's metal or composite wings have pretty efficient structures, relatively smooth OML, can deal with cutouts for the multitude of doors required- can even fit fuel tanks in them! At the end of the day, if you made the equivalent wing out of this, how would it compare weightwise and aerodynamically?
That's what's going to determine whether it's adopted or not.
 

martinbayer

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Plus, the more moving/active components you have, the more potential failure modes and sources are introduced, and you now need additional on board power as well. KISS.
 

sferrin

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Flyaway said:
sferrin said:
Flyaway said:
sferrin said:
Looks like a giant headache.

Good to see a positive and well thought out response to new technology. ::)

Cold Fusion was "new technology" too.

The two are hardly comparable.

You're missing the point. Just because something is new and different doesn't mean it will be useful or practical.
 
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