Intelligent design optimization of a shape memory alloy actuated reconfigurable wing Conference Paper uri icon


  • The unique thermal and mechanical properties offered by shape memory alloys (SMAs) present exciting 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. It has been shown experimentally that the overall shape of an airfoil can be altered by activating several attached SMA wire actuators. This shape-change can effectively increase the efficiency of a wing in flight at several different flow regimes. To determine the necessary placement of these wire actuators within the wing, an optimization method that incorporates a fully-coupled structural, thermal, and aerodynamic analysis has been utilized. Due to the complexity of the fully-coupled analysis, intelligent optimization methods such as genetic algorithms have been used to efficiently converge to an optimal solution. The genetic algorithm used in this case is a hybrid version with global search and optimization capabilities augmented by the simplex method as a local search technique. For the reconfigurable wing, each chromosome represents a realizable airfoil configuration and its genes are the SMA actuators, described by their location and maximum transformation strain. The genetic algorithm has been used to optimize this design problem to maximize the lift-to-drag ratio for a reconfigured airfoil shape.

name of conference

  • Smart Structures and Materials 2000: Mathematics and Control in Smart Structures

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Lagoudas, D. C., Strelec, J. K., Yen, J., & Khan, M. A.

citation count

  • 8

complete list of authors

  • Lagoudas, DC||Strelec, JK||Yen, J||Khan, MA

editor list (cited editors)

  • Varadan, V. V.

publication date

  • January 2000