Characterization of piezoelectric macrofiber composite actuated winglets
The present study primarily focuses on the design, development, and structural characterization of an oscillating winglet actuated using a piezoelectric macrofiber composite (MFC). The primary objective is to study the effect of controlled wingtip oscillations on the evolution of wingtip vortices, with a goal of weakening these potentially harmful tip vortices by introducing controlled instabilities through both spatial and temporal perturbations producible through winglet oscillations. MFC-actuated winglets have been characterized under different input excitation and pressure-loading conditions. The winglet oscillations show bimodal behavior for both structural and actuation modes of resonance. The oscillatory amplitude at these actuation modes increases linearly with the magnitude of excitation. During wind-tunnel tests, fluid-structure interactions led to structural vibrations of the wing. The effect of these vibrations on the overall winglet oscillations decreased when the strength of actuation increased. At high input excitation, the actuated winglet was capable of generating controlled oscillations. As a proof of concept, the current study has demonstrated that microfiber composite-actuated winglets produce sufficient displacements to alter the development of the wingtip vortex.
Smart Materials and Structures