Year of Publication

2007

Document Type

Thesis

College

Engineering

Department

Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Suzanne Weaver Smith

Abstract

Inflatable wings provide an innovative solution to unmanned aerial vehicles requiring small packed volumes, such as those used for military reconnaissance or extra-planetary exploration. There is desire to implement warping actuation forces to change the shape of the wing during flight to allow for greater control of the aircraft. In order to quickly and effectively analyze the effects of wing warping strategies on an inflatable wing, a finite element model is desired. Development of a finite element model which includes woven fabric material properties, internal pressure loading, and external wing loading is presented. Testing was performed to determine material properties of the woven fabric, and to determine wing response to static loadings. The modeling process was validated through comparison of simplified inflatable cylinder models to experimental test data. Wing model response was compared to experimental response, and modeling changes including varying material property models and mesh density studies are presented, along with qualitative wing warping simulations. Finally, experimental and finite element modal analyses were conducted, and comparisons of natural frequencies and mode shapes are presented.

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