Early research on a new concept for a morphing system based on unit structures or cells containing pressurized fluid is presented in this article. The motivation stems from the desire to achieve 3D smooth variations with multiple degrees of freedom and variations in surface area. Such a cell is composed of a hybrid between elastomeric material and stiffening material, creating an orthotropic system. When connected in a network of cells, the morphing system is highly integrated in terms of the components of the skin, substructure and actuation means. Numerical predictions of small simple prismatic cells show a force and axial strain capability of above 200 N and 14% respectively for typical elastomeric and stiffening materials at 8 bar pressure. PolyJet™ additively-manufactured models of wings show how such actuators can be integrated into aircraft structures, including when 3D geometry is highly challenging. These additively-manufactured models were operated at low pressures in the order of 0.5 bar, and a number of open questions on the design, manufacture and operation of such structures are discussed along with intended future work towards higher grade materials and working pressures.
- Aerospace Division
Pressure-Driven Morphing Devices for 3D Shape Changes With Multiple Degrees-of-Freedom
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Vasista, S, Riemenschneider, J, Mendrock, T, & Monner, HP. "Pressure-Driven Morphing Devices for 3D Shape Changes With Multiple Degrees-of-Freedom." Proceedings of the ASME 2018 Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems. Volume 1: Development and Characterization of Multifunctional Materials; Modeling, Simulation, and Control of Adaptive Systems; Integrated System Design and Implementation. San Antonio, Texas, USA. September 10–12, 2018. V001T04A010. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/SMASIS2018-7949
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