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Morphing Aerospace Vehicles and Structures by John Valasek

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5

Modeling and Simulation of Morphing Wing Aircraft

Borna Obradovic and Kamesh Subbarao

University of Texas - Arlington, USA

5.1 Introduction

Flight simulation of a morphing aircraft is a key step in the design process. Particularly in the early phases of design, efficient simulation methods of the full aircraft flight dynamics and aerodynamics are essential. The subject of this chapter is an analysis of modeling methodologies suitable for full, non-linear flight simulation of morphing aircraft. The morphing itself presents challenges for modeling of both aerodynamics and flight dynamics. Various modeling options will be discussed and compared, and the selected methods presented in greater detail. We will also carefully examine the morphing-induced actuator loads, and the resulting actuator power requirements. Finally, a study of a control system design for a morphing aircraft will be presented, utilizing the models and methods developed in the chapter. The resulting controller will also be useful in highlighting the actuator-load limitations of morphing.

5.1.1 Gull-Wing Aircraft

While numerous designs exist for morphing wings, we will primarily use a “Gull-wing” aircraft as our test subject (with some discussion of flexible morphing aircraft as well). The gull-wing aircraft used in this study is illustrated in Figure 5.1. Each wing consists of two segments, referred to as the main wing and the winglet. The wing sections are connected by an actuated, cylindrical joint. Likewise, ...

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