Patent awarded to Air Force Research Laboratory for flexible wing design

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Credit: Air Force Research Laboratory

DAYTON, Ohio-A patent issued on Feb. 20 to Dr. James Joo, Advanced Structural Concepts team lead at the Air Force Research Laboratory, for the "variable camber adaptive compliant wing system."

The new design contained in US Patent 9,896,188 allows an aircraft wing to re-contour the airfoil camber in-flight. These flexible, single piece structures change shape through elastic deformation. This enables a continuous wing reconfiguration that optimizes wing geometry for current altitude, airspeed, and lift-to-drag ratio requirements.

The design also limits separated flow and parasitic drag with the seamless construction (no holes or gaps), which increases overall range and endurance of an aircraft in addition to controlling surface effectiveness and power use reductions.

The wing reconfiguration also decreases aircraft noise, e.g., the flap side-edge noise, and with a seamless skin reduces control surface gap and edge noise.

"This design is a game changer," Joo said. "It is very simple, with fewer parts and better results."

Companies interested in licensing the patented invention for commercialization should contact Dr. Austin Leach, senior technology manager at TechLink.

TechLink is the Department of Defense's only national "partnership intermediary" for technology transfer. Since 1999, TechLink has been helping companies nationwide to license DoD inventions for conversion into new products and services. To date, it has helped transfer over 1,000 DoD inventions to industry. TechLink brokers or facilitates approximately 60 percent of all DoD license agreements nationwide.

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