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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Aerodynamic Optimization for Distributed Electro Mechanical Actuators, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Traditional hydraulic actuation and control surface layout both limit span wise control of lift distribution, and require large volume within wing cross-section, ultimately reducing efficiency. Mounting and support structures for traditional actuators, also necessitate drag-inducing protrusions in otherwise ideally smooth airfoils. Consequently, hydraulic systems are heavy and energy intensive as compared to electromechanical counterparts. Coupling distributed EMAs with novel controls optimizing lift distribution in real-time during flight allows lighter, thinner, and more flexible wing structure. Multidisciplinary Design Optimization used to couple control formulation for any point in flight with aeroelastic model of the wing. Parametric distribution of EMAs will guide actuator placement and aid design and sizing of flexible wing system that maximizes L/D. Aurora has used both distributed local flow sensors and on-board fiber-optic strain sensors, which along with novel control algorithms allow for on-board, near real-time control calculations to be completed, creating adaptive wing shapes, and optimize L/D within the flight envelope. More »

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