Graduate Research in Engineering and Technology (GRET)


This thesis presents a modelling and design exploration study of a novel twisting wing whose motion is enabled by a tensegrity mechanism. First, the aerodynamic characteristics of the twisting wing, which does not require control surfaces to modulate its shape, are compared with those of a conventional wing having a control surface. It is shown via computational fluid dynamics analyses that the twisting wing displays higher lift-to-drag ratio than the conventional wing and hence the twisting wing is more aerodynamically efficient. In addition, due to the reduction of discontinuous rudder surfaces, morphing wings can further improve the stealth performance. A finite element model with geometrical nonlinear effects is then proposed to correct the errors of the linear analysis and verify the effectiveness of the optimization method. This design is shown to be able to reduce the overall weight of the structure and achieve control of the macro mechanical performance of the wing. The work provides a general optimization design method for similar modular structures, allowing independent programmable adjustment of the parameters of each single structural cell.





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