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Opportunity at Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)

Morphing Aircraft Structural Technology Development


Aerospace Systems Directorate, RQ/Aerospace Structures, Aerodynamics, and Flight Controls

RO# Location
13.30.07.B6873 Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 454337542


Name E-mail Phone
Reich, Gregory W. 937.713.7138


Morphing aircraft is by AFRL’s definition a vehicle that can achieve large-scale changes in vehicle shape, such as 50% change in wing platform area or 100% change in wing span. This variation allows a vehicle to perform radically different mission segments at near-optimal conditions, and gives mission planners and commanders on the ground increased flexibility in the types of missions that can be completed with a single vehicle type. Morphing as a technology spans the entire range of vehicle size and speed scales, from super- and hyper-sonic systems down to micro air vehicles. An opportunity exists for basic research in morphing aircraft structural technology development to support the Air Vehicles Directorate’s Adaptive Structures Team. This research focuses on several areas: (1) the integration and distribution of actuation into a structure in order to effectively move the structure using minimum energy; (2) the design of novel structural layouts and mechanization concepts using topology optimization schemes tied to linear and nonlinear structural analysis; (3) the development of viable morphing structural skin concepts that allow large motions to occur with minimum resistance, while maintaining outer mold line integrity for development and transfer of aerodynamic loads; and (4) the application of morphing technologies to micro air vehicles.



Inoyama D, Sanders B, Joo J: Journal of Aircraft 44(4): 1205, 2007


Morphing aircraft structures; Adaptive structures; Topology optimization; Flexible skins; Nonlinear structural mechanics;


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral and Senior applicants
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