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Morphing of ‘flying’ shapes for autonomous underwater and aerial vehicles

Turnock, S.R., Keane, A.J., Bressloff, N.W., Nicholls-Lee, R.F. and Boyd, S.W. (2009) Morphing of ‘flying’ shapes for autonomous underwater and aerial vehicles At NATO RTO Modelling & Simulation Conference 2009. 01 Jan 2009. 19 pp, pp. 1-19.

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


Autonomous vehicles are energy poor and should be designed to minimise the power required to propel them throughout their mission. The University of Southampton’s School of Engineering Sciences is actively involved in the development of improved designs for aerial and maritime autonomous vehicles. The ability to adapt or ‘morph’ their shape in-flight offers an opportunity to extend mission range/duration and improve agility. The practical implementation of such systems at small scale requires detailed consideration of the number, mass and power requirements of the individual actuation elements. Three approaches for minimising actuation requirements are considered. The first uses a combination of push-pull actuators coupled with a snap-through composite lay-up to achieve alterations in shape. It is proposed that such a system could be applied to the trailing edge of an autonomous underwater glider wing instead of the more usual servo operated trailing edge flap. The anisotropy achieved through use of different composite ply orientations and stacking can also be used to generate bend-twist coupling such that fluid dynamic loads induce ‘passive’ shape adaptation. The third approach uses a detailed understanding of the structural response of buckled elements to applied control moments to deform a complete wing. At this stage of the research no definitive conclusions have been drawn other than that all three approaches show sufficient promise and can now be applied to one of the autonomous vehicles.

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Published date: 2009
Venue - Dates: NATO RTO Modelling & Simulation Conference 2009, 2009-01-01 - 2009-01-01


Local EPrints ID: 66659
PURE UUID: adab6f6e-e2c5-4d4b-b395-3a7af3ec5e8d
ORCID for S.R. Turnock: ORCID iD

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Date deposited: 10 Jul 2009
Last modified: 19 Jul 2017 00:23

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