Morphing Wing Flexible Skins with Curved Fiber Composites

SM Murugan & MI Friswell (Swansea University)

Composite Structures, Vol. 99, May 2013, pp. 69-75


Morphing aircraft wing skins require composites with conflicting structural requirements: low in-plane stiffness and high out-of-plane bending stiffness. In this study, composites with curvilinear fiber paths are examined to enhance these conflicting structural requirements. The numerical results show that curved fiber paths can minimize the in-plane stiffness and increase the bending stiffness simultaneously compared to a baseline plate with straight fibers. A flexibility ratio is defined to measure the in-plane and out-of-plane deformation of the plate, simultaneously. A multi-objective optimization is formulated to find optimal curved fiber paths which maximize the flexibility ratio of the morphing wing skin. The optimization is performed with fiber paths represented as independent discrete fibers and continuous curvilinear fibers. The results show a significant increase in the flexibility ratio compared to a baseline plate with straight fibers. The aspect ratio of plate, laminate stacking sequence and in-plane loading direction have considerable influence on the optimal paths of curved fibers.

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This material has been published in the Composite Structures, Vol. 99, May 2013, pp. 69-75, the only definitive repository of the content that has been certified and accepted after peer review. Copyright and all rights therein are retained by Elsevier.

Link to paper using doi: 10.1016/j.compstruct.2012.11.026

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