Polymorphing aircraft wings utilize shape changes to maximize the flight performance and efficiency of the aircraft. To accomplish this, aircraft wing skins need to be flexible in-plane while continuing to be stiff out-of-plane in order to support the applied loads and maintain the desired shape during flight. Recently, a team of researchers at Khalifa University completed and published a study characterizing the use of latex for this application. The team used the CellScale BioTester to perform uniaxial, biaxial, and shear tests while also looking at other factors such as strain rate, hysteresis loss, and stress relaxation.

The researchers found that monomorphing wings were primarily imposing shear stress on the wing skin, whereas the proposed polymorphing wings imposed more complex stress states instead. As a result of this finding, it was determined that the polymorphing wing skin materials had more hysteresis losses and stress relaxation. This work has provided a reliable basis for analysis of materials for this challenging application, and it will surely continue to be refined over the coming years.

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