Experimental Investigation of Bistable Winglets to Enhance Aircraft Wing Lift Takeoff Capability

A Gatto, F Mattioni & MI Friswell (University of Bristol)

Journal of Aircraft, Vol. 46, No. 2, March-April 2009, pp. 647-655


An experimental investigation into the use of a bi-stable winglet to enhance the lift characteristics of a wing transitioning from low to higher subsonic ow speeds is presented in this paper. The concept centers around the use of a specically designed composite winglet, manufactured with an unsymmetric lay-up, which, when increasingly loaded, snaps between two stable states. Initially, during low speed operation, the winglet is fixed in one stable state which is specifically designed to be cambered thus enhancing the lift capability of the wing. At higher dynamic pressures, the winglet `snaps' to a configuration more intuitive and conventional to current winglet design. Results presented in this paper show the concept to be viable at enhancing the lift produced by a swept wing as aerodynamic loading increases prior to snap-through. During snap-through however, the absence of any method of controlling the snap-through process generated significant dynamic loading which was transmitted, unhindered, throughout the entire test rig.

Paper Availability

This material has been published in the Journal of Aircraft, Vol. 46, No. 2, March-April 2009, pp. 647-655. Unfortunately the copyright agreement with AIAA does not allow for the PDF file of the paper to be available on this website. However the paper is available from AIAA - see the link below.

Link to paper using doi: 10.2514/1.39614

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