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Successful Flight Test of Shape Changing Wing Surface

NASA’s green aviation project is one step closer to developing technology that could make future airliners quieter and more fuel-efficient with the successful flight test of a wing surface that can change shape in flight.

This past summer, researchers replaced an airplane’s conventional aluminum flaps with advanced, shape-changing assemblies that form seamless bendable and twistable surfaces. Flight testing will determine whether flexible trailing-edge wing flaps are a viable approach to improve aerodynamic efficiency and reduce noise generated during takeoffs and landings.

For the initial Adaptive Compliant Trailing Edge (ACTE) flight, shown in this image, the experimental control surfaces were locked at a specified setting. Varied flap settings on subsequent tests will demonstrate the capability of the flexible surfaces under actual flight conditions.

ACTE technology is expected to have far-reaching effects on future aviation. Advanced lightweight materials will reduce wing structural weight and give engineers the ability to aerodynamically tailor the wings to promote improved fuel economy and more efficient operations, while reducing environmental impacts.

> More: NASA Tests Revolutionary Shape Changing Aircraft Flap for the First Time

Image Credit: NASA/Ken Ulbrich via NASA http://ift.tt/1u6aVU8

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