Nasa & MIT engineers design a futuristic mid-journey shape changing aircraft wing

Morphing Wing by Nasa and MIT engineers (Source: MIT)

It’s been a long time and our aircrafts are due for a major redesign. All aircrafts more or less have the same outer shape and design, it’s only only the internals that receive major changes. But times seem to change as a team of engineers at MIT and Nasa take the challenge.

According to details revealed, engineers from MIT and Nasa have constructed a wing that can change its shape mid-flight to better suite the flight conditions. The team claims that this new design can provide the next-gen flight and efficiency the world is craving for.

The new wing is constructed from hundred or thousands of tiny identical triangular pieces, designed to provide both greater flexibility and manoeuvrability to the future aircrafts. This instead of requiring multiple movable surfaces to control the aircraft, will deform the complete wing, providing control like never before. According to reports, Nasa tested the new wing design in their own wind tunnel.

Other than providing flexibility and manoeuvrability, researchers also claim that the wing would be much lighter than the conventional. The triangular pieces used mostly comprise of empty space and are said to form a “meta material” which combines the structural stiffness of a rubber like polymer and low density aerogel — making them extremely light.

As of now, the prototype wing was constructed by hand but the team claims that the process could be automated. Also, the team has made it possible to include motors and other deform force creating devices but other than that, they claim to have upped their challenge and designed a system that does this automatically and seamlessly according to the aerodynamic loading conditions.

It is also claimed that this new designing can be used to make other structures as well, including highly efficient wind turbines that require extra large blades, which become a huge transportation challenge.

The team published their work in the Smart Materials and Structures Journal.