Flex-Skins Using Cellular Cores (XSCL)

Period of Performance: 08/09/2007 - 08/09/2009

$750K

Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

Nextgen Aeronautics
2780 Skypark Drive Suite 400
Torrance, CA 90505
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

Pennsylvania State University
110 Technology Center Building
University Park, PA 16802
Institution POC

Abstract

Consistent with the solicitation, the top level program objective of this STTR is to demonstrate the viability and benefits of morphing wing skin designs incorporating cellular cores with tailor-able geometry and material properties. NextGen Aeronautics and Penn State University plan to build on our Phase I work and propose to mature our concepts and designs for a shear-morphing skin to a TRL of 5-6 in this Phase II effort. The NextGen/PSU program, indicative of our technical approach, is entitled "Flexible Skins Using Cellular Cores (XSCL)." In Phase I, the NextGen/PSU team focused on laying a strong analytical foundation for developing optimal designs as well as investigating design approaches to reduce manufacturing complexity and actuation force requirements while simultaneously reducing the panel weight. We developed a novel, hybrid core design consisting of closely-spaced, long flexible strands with hexagonal cells in the central region, connected to stiff members in the perpendicular direction. In Phase II, we will pursue an iterative design-built-test approach and address optimization of the panel at multiple levels - core, core with attached face-sheets and boundary elements, and large panels. The final milestone in this program is the test of large, integrated panel under realistic operational loads.