Conseil national de recherches du Canada. Aérospatiale
actuators; control; experimental validation; morphing wing; wind tunnel test
In aircraft wing design, engineers aim to provide the best possible aerodynamic performance under cruise flight conditions in terms of lift-to-drag ratio. Conventional control surfaces such as flaps, ailerons, variable wing sweep and spoilers are used to trim the aircraft for other flight conditions. The appearance of the morphing wing concept launched a new challenge in the area of overall wing and aircraft performance improvement during different flight segments by locally altering the flow over the aircraft’s wings. This paper describes the development and application of a control system for an actuation mechanism integrated in a new morphing wing structure. The controlled actuation system includes four similar miniature electromechanical actuators disposed in two parallel actuation lines. The experimental model of the morphing wing is based on a full-scale portion of an aircraft wing, which is equipped with an aileron. The upper surface of the wing is a flexible one, being closed to the wing tip; the flexible skin is made of light composite materials. The four actuators are controlled in unison to change the flexible upper surface to improve the flow quality on the upper surface by delaying or advancing the transition point from laminar to turbulent regime. The actuators transform the torque into vertical forces. Their bases are fixed on the wing ribs and their top link arms are attached to supporting plates fixed onto the flexible skin with screws. The actuators push or pull the flexible skin using the necessary torque until the desired vertical displacement of each actuator is achieved. The four vertical displacements of the actuators, correlated with the new shape of the wing, are provided by a database obtained through a preliminary aerodynamic optimization for specific flight conditions. The control system is designed to control the positions of the actuators in real time in order to obtain and to maintain the desired shape of the wing for a specified flight condition. The feasibility and effectiveness of the developed control system by use of a proportional fuzzy feed-forward methodology are demonstrated experimentally through bench and wind tunnel tests of the morphing wing model. Proportional fuzzy feed-forward architecture control validation by wind tunnel tests of a morphing wing.