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Proceedings Paper

Piezoelectric composite morphing control surfaces for unmanned aerial vehicles
Author(s): Osgar John Ohanian III; Etan D. Karni; Chris C. Olien; Eric A. Gustafson; Kevin B. Kochersberger; Paul A. Gelhausen; Bridget L. Brown
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Paper Abstract

The authors have explored the use of morphing control surfaces to replace traditional servo-actuated control surfaces in UAV applications. The morphing actuation is accomplished using Macro Fiber Composite (MFC) piezoelectric actuators in a bimorph configuration to deflect the aft section of a control surface cross section. The resulting camber change produces forces and moments for vehicle control. The flexible piezoelectric actuators are damage tolerant and provide excellent bandwidth. The large amplitude morphing deflections attained in bench-top experiments demonstrate the potential for excellent control authority. Aerodynamic performance calculations using experimentally measured morphed geometries indicate changes in sectional lift coefficients that are superior to a servo-actuated hinged flap airfoil. This morphing flight control actuation technology could eliminate the need for servos and mechanical linkages in small UAVs and thereby increase reliability and reduce drag.

Paper Details

Date Published: 18 April 2011
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 7981, Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2011, 79815K (18 April 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.881770
Show Author Affiliations
Osgar John Ohanian III, AVID LLC (United States)
Etan D. Karni, AVID LLC (United States)
Chris C. Olien, AVID LLC (United States)
Eric A. Gustafson, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ. (United States)
Kevin B. Kochersberger, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ. (United States)
Paul A. Gelhausen, AVID LLC (United States)
Bridget L. Brown, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7981:
Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2011
Masayoshi Tomizuka, Editor(s)

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