24th AIAA/AHS Adaptive Structures Conference, 4-8 January 2016, San Diego, California, USA
This paper presents numerical optimization and experimental wind tunnel testing of a morphing wing tip equipped with an adaptable upper surface, and a rigid aileron. The wing model represented the wing-tip of a regional transport aircraft, including the structure capable of withstanding flight loads, and an active control surface. The wing box adaptable upper surface was redesigned using composite materials, and can be actively controlled using an electric actuation system placed inside the wing box. The modification of the upper surface shape was performed with the aim of stabilizing the boundary layer in order to avoid possible separation over the aileron and loss of the control surface effectiveness. Optimizations were performed in two-dimensions, using a genetic algorithm code, and verified with three-dimensional numerical simulations. The effectiveness of the upper skin shape control on modifying the laminar-to-turbulent transition was validated with infra-red thermography and pressure sensor measurements taken during subsonic wind tunnel tests. Changes of over 10% of the chord in the upper surface transition location were achieved with no significant impact on the lift coefficients values.