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Dr Andres Rivero Bracho

Compliance-based Morphing Aerostructures, Structural Modelling for Morphing Applications, Fluid-Structure Interaction

Design of a three-dimensional camber morphing composite wing using the Fishbone Active Camber (FishBAC) concept.  

Traditional fixed wing aircraft (i.e. commercial airliners) are usually designed, aerodynamically, for optimal performance at one specific cruise condition. As consequence, the performance of aircraft at flight stages and scenarios that do not occur at cruise condition (e.g. takeoff, climb, landing, unexpected gust, etc.) is far from optimal. This results in lower profit margins for airlines due to fuel consumption and noise, as well as higher emissions, per distance travelled, of carbon dioxide (CO2), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), among others greenhouse gases.

The Fish Bone Active Camber (FishBAC) concept is an active morphing trailing edge device that creates large magnitude, continuous, and smooth changes in aerofoil camber, and therefore, changes in lift distribution with a ‘low’ drag penalty. The aim of this project is to design a three dimensional aeroelastically optimised composite wing structure that combines active camber morphing for lift control and load alleviation, using the FishBAC morphing trailing edge device. 

Potential benefits include reductions in drag, fuel consumption, noise and weight due to optimisation of the spanwise lift distribution and a decrease in induced and control surface drag throughout the entire flight envelope.

The novelty of this research project lies in the fact that it combines active and passive structural morphing techniques for optimising aircraft performance, as well as a simultaneous optimisation of the chordwise (i.e. 2D aerofoil aerodynamics) and spanwise (i.e. 3D wing aerodynamics) lift distributions. The outcome of this project will not only deliver a novel wing design, but will also develop modelling techniques that combine three-dimensional aerodynamics with structural mechanics, at multiple levels of fidelity.