Two aspects of the design of a small-scale smart wing are addressed in this work, related to the ability of the wing to modify its cross section assuming the shape of two different airfoils and to the possibility of deflecting the profiles near the trailing edge in order to obtain hingeless control surfaces. The actuation is provided by one-way shape memory alloy wires eventually coupled to springs, Shape Memory Alloys (SMAs) being among the most promising materials for this kind of applications. The points to be actuated along the profiles and the displacements to be imposed are selecetd so that they satisfactorily approximate the change from an airfoil to the other and to result in an adequate deflection of the control surface; the actuators and their performances are designed so that an adequate wing stiffness is guaranteed, in order to prevent excessive deformations and undesired airfoil shape variations due to aerodynamic loads. The effect of the pressure distributions, calculated by way of the XFOIL software, and of the actuators loads, is estimated by FE analyses of the loaded wing. Two prototypes are then realised incorporating the variable airfoil and the hingeless aileron features respectively, and the verification of their shapes in both the actuated and non-actuated states, supported by image analysis techniques, confirms that interesting results are achievable with the proposed lay out and design considerations.
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