•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.

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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.

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‘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)


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