•Wing shape and structure can be manipulated to give the optimum efficiency
•Would change its shape to be best suited for take-off, cruising and landing
•Prototype is 18 feet long, the size of a real wing on a single-seater plane
NASA has created a cutting-edge wing which will allow the space agency to create a plane capable of changing shape mid-flight.
The real-life transformer is still a concept but would be able to manipulate its form in order to control its flight.
A combination of stiff and flexible components allow it to deform at the will of its pilot.
The innovative wing incorporates a mix of stiff and flexible components, which make it possible to deform the whole wing.
It is lighter and more flexible than existing designs due to a clever mechanism which involves bolting separate components within the structure to its immediate neighbours.
A lattice structure is then formed of cube-like structures and allows it to be far lighter than current alternatives.
The wing material then has a density of 5.6kg per cubic metre, while rubber has a density of about 1,500kg per cubic metre.
It is designed to make use of different configurations specifically optimised for different parts of flight, including take-off, cruising and landing.
Nicholas Cramer, co-author of the study, said: ‘We’re able to gain efficiency by matching the shape to the loads at different angles of attack.
‘We’re able to produce the exact same behaviour you would do actively, but we did it passively.’
‘A wing that is constantly deformable could provide a much better approximation of the best configuration for each stage,’ MIT explains in an online statement.
The current prototype is around 18 feet (five metres) long, approximately the size of a real wing on a single-seater plane.
Designs build on previous models which were three-foot (one metre) long and they claim to have streamlined the process.
(Culled from Daily Mail)