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Kansas Research Infrastructure Development Wichita State University

Morphing-wing UAV in the WSU 7x10-foot wind tunnel.

Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) research is surfacing as a new subset of Kansas’ expertise in aeronautics. Current NASA EPSCoR projects include critical technology and infrastructure development related to UAV’s, as well as aeronautics in general. The impact, both now and in the future, of these projects is important to recognize given agriculture and aviation are the two largest contributors to the Kansas economy. Dr. Animesh Chakravarthy’s UAV project on morphing-wing aircraft technology includes collaboration with NASA, Beechcraft, and Boeing. The work is contributing to next-generation aircraft control methodologies, with Technology Readiness Level 6 systems, and includes a prototype UAV demonstration. A five-foot span morphing UAV model, that shares several features with NASA’s Variable Continuous Camber Trailing Edge and Flaps (VCCTEF) morphing aircraft design, has been designed and built. Uniquely, the UAV has an adjustable wing shape capability. The UAV’s wing incorporates a flexible aft portion covered by a latex membrane. Placed within the flexible portion of the wing (i.e., under the latex surface) are ten equally spaced servo-actuators, each capable changing the wing’s trailing edge shape. A simple microcontroller is used to monitor and control the shape to yield improved aircraft performance over a wide range of flight conditions. The prototype UAV was recently tested in the Wichita State University 7x10-foot wind tunnel. A first flight and continued testing is planned as the research progresses. Along with developing the related infrastructure, systems, and collaborations there is strong potential for related patents. Interestingly, due in large part to his EPSCoR work, Dr. Chakravarthy recently received a National Science Foundation CAREER award. This prestigious award will allow Kansas to further establish and strengthen its expertise in aeronautics.



NASA EPSCoR Stimuli 2014 -15

EPSCoR Stimuli 2014-15  

NASA Office of Education’s Aerospace Research & Career Development (ARCD) is pleased to release NASA EPSCoR Stimuli, a collection of univers...

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