Development and Testing of Woven FRP Flexure Hinges for Pressure-Actuated Cellular Structures with Regard to Morphing Wing Applications
Shape-variable structures can change their geometry in a targeted way and thus adapt their outer shape to different operating conditions. The potential applications in aviation are manifold and far-reaching. The substitution of conventional flaps in high-lift systems or even the deformation of entire wing profiles is conceivable. All morphing approaches have to deal with the same challenge: A conflict between minimizing actuating forces on the one hand, and maximizing structural deflections and resistance to external forces on the other. A promising concept of shape variability to face this challenging conflict is found in biology. Pressure-actuated cellular structures (PACS) are based on the movement of nastic plants. Firstly, a brief review of the holistic design approach of PACS is presented. The aim of the following study is to investigate manufacturing possibilities for woven flexure hinges in closed cellular structures. Weaving trials are first performed on the material level and finally on a five-cell PACS cantilever. The overall feasibility of woven fiber reinforced plastics (FRP)-PACS is proven. However, the results show that the materials selection in the weaving process substantially influences the mechanical behavior of flexure hinges. Thus, the optimization of manufacturing parameters is a key factor for the realization of woven FRP-PACS.