There is a new trend in the aviation industry to build aircrafts with variable wing geometry to increase their aerodynamic efficiency and reduce their noise signatures and emissions. One of the most promising morphing degrees of freedom is span morphing where the wingspan is continuously adjusted during flight to optimize the efficiency and performance of the aircraft. A lot of research effort has been dedicated to develop advanced structural concepts and actuation mechanisms that facilitate span morphing; however, very little work has been done on modeling, characterizing, and understanding the aeroelastic behavior of span morphing wings. Without proper and robust understanding of their aeroelastic behavior, it is not possible to estimate the actual benefits and limitations of the span morphing wing technology that will limit its appearance on the aircraft. This proposal aims to address this gap and develop a comprehensive framework to model and assess the aeroelastic behavior of span morphing wings. The framework will involve multi-fidelity aeroelastic modeling and experimental testing of various span morphing wings.
The aviation industry in the UAE has grown dramatically in the last decade and it is anticipated that in 2020, aviation will contribute $53 billion to the UAE’s economy and create up to 750,000 jobs. Therefore, the UAE has strategic interests in sustainable aviation and in reducing the negative impact of aviation on the environment and society. The proposed research fits within the UAE’s strategic objectives and targets because it aims to develop and mature a promising technology that can positively contribute toward sustainable aviation. In addition, this proposal aims to train students and develop the capability of the country in the area of aerospace engineering. The outcomes of this proposal will be published in high impact factor journal papers and will be presented at international conferences. This will maximize the impact of the proposed research and will give outstanding visibility for aerospace research activities in Khalifa University and the UAE. The proposal will establish a promising collaboration with a leading research team from the University of Bristol (UoB). Finally, the proposal will form the basis for a strategic partnership with the UAE’s aerospace industry which will strengthen the impact of this proposal and will facilitate further future collaborations and commercialization.