These NASA and MIT researchers created a shape-shifting airplane wing that could change air travel

NASA Ames Research Center Airplane James Alexander Michie

[Image: Eli Gershenfeld/NASA Ames Research Center]

A new and intelligent wing design could change air travel, airplane maintenance and aircraft production more efficient, and that could be good news for everyone. In fact, researchers from NASA and MIT created a plane wing that changes shape and this could undoubtedly change air travel

That’s right, researchers from both NASA and MIT came together to rethink the wings of the planes and came up with the idea of ​​assembling them from hundreds of tiny identical pieces. In this way they make them easy to maintain and repair, and even more interesting, giving them the flexibility to change shape during the flight. To better control the trip of the plane. The wing is made of an open and light lattice structure of tiny triangles and empty space covered with a thin layer of polymeric material, which makes the wing lighter and more energy efficient.

Awesome design

It is necessary to mention that this design allows flexibility and even change of form, so the wing can change as they move through what researchers poetically call “the phases of a flight”.

There is no doubt that the design of the wing, which is made with 3D printing and robotic assembly, could allow future aircraft wing designs to become much more flexible, according to NASA and MIT scientists, who worked together on the investigation. The design was tested in a NASA wind tunnel, and the results were discussed in the journal Smart Materials and Structures, co-author of research engineer Nicholas Cramer of NASA Ames in California; Student Kenneth Cheung SM ’07 PhD ’12 from MIT, now at NASA Ames; Benjamin Jenett, a graduate student at MIT’s Bits and Atoms Center; and another eight.

However, the new design is not limited to air transport: researchers believe it could improve wind turbines, as well as help, propel spacecraft and make durable and easy-to-repair bridges.

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Source: Melissa Locker | Fast Company

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