Low energy actuation technique of bistable composites for aircraft morphing

F. Nicassio, G. Scarselli, F. Pinto, F. Ciampa, O. Iervolino, M. Meo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Citations (SciVal)
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Morphing structures for lightweight and energy-efficient aircraft mobile surfaces have been investigated for several years. This paper presents a novel lightweight, passive and low-energy morphing surface concept based on the “lever effect” of a bistable composite plate that can be integrated in aircraft moving surfaces. By using appropriate boundary conditions, it is demonstrated that the magnitude of the activation force on the bistable composite can be tailored to match the differential pressure on the aircraft's airfoil. As a consequence, the bistable laminate can be used as a passive morphing surface. Both numerical simulations and experimental testing are used to prove this concept on a NACA 2412 airfoil structure. The results show that, by choosing proper configuration of constraints, lay-up and aspect ratio of the bistable composite, it is possible to tailor and activate the snap-through mechanism in a passive manner. The proposed concept would save significant weight when compared to an active morphing concept.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-46
Number of pages12
JournalAerospace Science and Technology
Early online date1 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • Bistable composites
  • Morphing structures
  • Passive structures
  • Smart materials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering


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