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Center Innovation Fund: AFRC CIF

Fundamental Research into Hyperelastic Materials for Flight Applications Element, Year 1

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Wing rendering with Flexible Side Edge Link (FLEXSEL)
This research project is working to develop methods to characterize elastomer materials for flight applications as well as instrumentation methods to monitor their use in flight. These hyperelastic materials have long been used in specialized applications where their flexibility is essential (e.g., O-rings and gaskets for pressure retention), but they are now being considered for use as load-bearing structural elements. Because little data are available in the aerospace community for designing structures that incorporate elastomer materials, Armstrong researchers are evaluating elastomer stress-strain behavior under various loading scenarios to aid in their incorporation into structural designs. This research is part of an innovative effort to use hyperelastic materials to produce flexible and seamless aircraft structures that reduce drag and minimize acoustic noise. Work to date: Researchers developed a uniaxial test rig to evaluate elastomer materials. Applying uniaxial loads allows the stress-strain curve to be produced using photogrammetric techniques. The photogrammetry system can also be used to assess liquid strain gauge performance. The resulting tensile-testing technique enables elastomer material characterization for flight applications. Looking ahead: Test data obtained in 2014 will support future analysis studies scheduled for 2015. In addition to planned fundamental analysis studies, vibration studies will validate elastomer modal characteristics. NASA Partner: Langley Research Center Benefits: High performance: Improves aerodynamic capabilities and enables morphing structural technologies by sealing structural gaps Quieter: Reduces airframe noise associated with takeoffs and landings, both in the aircraft cabin and on the ground Economical: Increases fuel efficiency by reducing drag Applications: Aircraft wing flaps Helicopter blades Motor vehicles, trains, and ships More »

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