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Morphing Aerospace Vehicles and Structures by John Valasek

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4

Morphing Unmanned Air Vehicle Intelligent Shape and Flight Control

John Valasek1, Kenton Kirkpatrick1, and Amanda Lampton2

1Texas A&M University, USA

2Systems Technology Incorporated, USA

4.1 Introduction

Although there are several definitions and interpretations of the term morphing, it is generally understood that the concept can refer to both small-scale and large-scale shape changes or transfigurations. Two distinct classes of morphing have been identified: Morphing for Mission Adaptation, and Morphing for Control (Bowman et al. 2002). In the context of flight vehicles, Morphing for Mission Adaptation is a large-scale, relatively slow, in-flight shape change to enable a single vehicle to perform multiple diverse mission profiles. Conversely, Morphing for Control is often a small-scale or component level in-flight physical or virtual shape change, used to achieve multiple control objectives such as noise suppression, flutter suppression, load alleviation and active separation control. This chapter addresses the problem of Morphing for Mission Adaptation.

Morphing research to date has not adequately addressed or described the supervisory and control aspects of shape changing or morphing. In the context of intelligent systems, three essential functionalities of a practical Morphing for Mission Adaptation capability are

1. When to reconfigure.

2. How to reconfigure.

3. Learning to reconfigure.

When to reconfigure is driven by mission priorities/tasks, and leads to optimal ...

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