The main goals in aircraft design nowadays are noise and emission reduction, together with performance improvement. These can be achieved straightforwardly with lightweight, large-span configurations. However, light aircraft are inherently more flexible and susceptible to adverse aeroelastic phenomena such as flutter, reduced control-surface efficiency, and large static and dynamic loads. Over the years, and with advances in aircraft control technology, several studies have shown that wings’ flexibility can be leveraged to achieve optimal performance (e.g., drag reduction, minimization of loads, or minimization of deformations) while minimizing adverse aeroelastic effects.
The current research study focuses on developing and implementing an aeroelastic shape sensing and control methodology that relies on strain-data from fiber-optic sensors (FOS). Fiber-optic sensing is commonly used in civil engineering, aerospace, marine, and oil and gas. Prominent use of fiber-optic sensors (FOS) in the aerospace industry is for structural health monitoring of complex aero-structures. FOS’s inherent capabilities include strain accuracy, spatial resolution, broad strain dynamic range, high sampling rate, insensitivity to electromagnetic radiation, small size, and lightweight. These properties make FOS highly suitable for aerospace systems. Recent studies demonstrated how FOS strain-data could be used to reconstruct the static and dynamic deformed shape of a flexible wing and predict the flutter onset speed. The current study further develops these capabilities and demonstrates wing-shape control based on strain-data measured via FOS.
The seminar will present the wing design, analyses, instrumentation with optical fibers, and experiments. FOS-based trim optimization was successfully realized, reducing the wing’s deformation by 30% while maintaining a required nominal lift.