National Research Council of Canada. NRC Institute for Aerospace Research
This paper presents the modeling and experimental testing of the aerodynamic performance of a morphing wing in open-loop architecture. We show the method used to acquire the pressure data from the external surface of the flexible wing skin, using incorporated Kulite pressure sensors and the instrumentation of the morphing controller. The acquired pressure data are analyzed through fast Fourier transforms to detect the magnitude of the noise in the surface airflow. Subsequently, the data are filtered by means of high-pass filters and processed by calculating the root mean square of the signal to obtain a plot diagram of the noise in the airflow. This signal processing is necessary to remove the inherent noise electronically induced from the Tollmien–Schlichting waves, which are responsible for triggering the transition from laminar to turbulent flow. The flexible skin is required to morph the shape of the airfoil through two actuation points to achieve an optimized airfoil shape based on the theoretical flow conditions similar to those tested in the wind tunnel. Two shape memory alloy actuators with a nonlinear behavior drive the displacement of the two control points of the flexible skin toward the optimized airfoil shape. Each of the shape memory actuators is activated by a power supply unit and controlled using the Simulink/MATLAB® software through a self-tuning fuzzy controller. The methodology and the results obtained during the wind-tunnel test proved that the concept and validity of the system in real time are discussed in this paper. Real-time acquisition and signal processing of pressure data are needed for further development of the closed-loop controller to obtain a fully automatic morphing wing system.