Fabrication and testing of a shape memory alloy actuated reconfigurable wing Conference Paper uri icon


  • The unique thermal and mechanical properties exhibited by shape memory alloys (SMAs) present exciting design possibilities in the field of aerospace engineering. When properly trained, SMA wires act as linear actuators by contracting when heated and returning to their original shape when cooled. These SMA wire actuators can be attached to points on the inside of an airfoil, and can be activated to alter the shape of the airfoil. This shape-change can effectively increase the efficiency of a wing in flight at several different flow regimes. Design optimization has previously been conducted to determine the placement of actuators within the reconfigurable airfoil. A wind tunnel model reconfigurable wing was fabricated based on the design optimization to verify the predicted structural and aerodynamic response. Wind tunnel tests indicated an increase in lift for a given flow velocity and angle of attack by activating the SMA wire actuators. The pressure data taken during the wind tunnel tests followed the trends expected from the numerical pressure results.

name of conference

  • SPIE's 9th Annual International Symposium on Smart Structures and Materials

published proceedings

  • SPIE Proceedings

author list (cited authors)

  • Strelec, J. K., & Lagoudas, D. C.

editor list (cited editors)

  • Davis, L. P.

publication date

  • January 1, 2002 11:11 AM