Innovators at NASA Armstrong are developing a collection of algorithms that can accurately determine the structural state of an aircraft. This work is in response to new airframe designs that save weight—and thereby improve fuel efficiency—by removing stiffness in the wings and incorporating lighter materials, such as composites.
Primary Application Area: Energy, Efficiency
Technology Development Status: Concept
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Value Proposition: Aircraft fuel efficiency has become paramount in recent decades. To save weight, airframe designers are removing stiffness in the wings and incorporating lighter materials, such as composites, leading to more flexible aircraft designs. However, lighter and more flexible aircraft tend to be subject to increased aeroelastic phenomena, leading to higher wing loads and gust responses. Instability, including divergence and flutter, can also appear that, if uncontrolled, can lead to catastrophic wing failure.
Next-generation aircraft are likely to have greater flexibility in the years to come, as aircraft designers compete for lighter aircraft. Avoidance of flutter through such methods as notch filtering must be replaced with active control if flutter exists inside the controller bandwidth.
This approach offers a variety of benefits:
--Fast: Analyzes data quickly, providing real-time operations
--Versatile: Can be used with either photogrammetry or fiber optic sensors
--Robust and fault tolerant: Is insensitive to asymmetric sensor noise and sensor failures
--Highly accurate: Collects a large number of data points via distributed sensors, analyzing the entire aircraft structure—not just specific areas
--Small: Contains a compact controller package
Organization Type: Academic/Gov Lab
Showcase Booth #: 322
GOVT/EXTERNAL FUNDING SOURCES