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Tactile Strip Sensors on Leading Edge of Material Memory Airfoils

Aircraft designers have always tried to figure out the best compromise for the aircraft they build, trying to get maximum performance at both high and low airspeeds. Now with material memory components they will be able to do this. The camber of the leading edge can change to a nice fat round area for slow speeds when Short Take Off and Landing STOL is needed and back to a thin leading edge for the lowest coefficients of drag and optimal cruising speed once airborne. But how will the aircraft know when to do this on its own. After all if the wing has material memory based on a heat, then it might be hotter at lower altitudes and then less ambient temperature (2 degrees per thousand feet) at higher altitudes. Yet when moving much faster the friction will heat up the wing also or you could be flying in an area with temperature inversion like Los Angeles basin where the smog is kept in the valley. (UCLA when the smog clears?)

By using tactile strips on the leading edges of wings, which are shaped with material memory for slow speeds, once the aircraft has sped up there will be more pressure on the leading edge. (we know this because the bugs are stuck better on faster aircraft and harder to clean off; www.AircraftWashGuys.com). As the aircraft travels through the air faster the static air will be greater and that static air can provide pulse power to the material memory leading edge to force it to constrict and become thinner. Thus the aircraft does not need to compromise wing shape for fast and slow flight. A JSF could land at 60 kts and still fly at 2.3 times the speed of sound. Additionally a UAV could remain loitering in the battlespace for hours after taking off from a short runway or carrier and then accelerating to a fast speed and then slowing down to STOL type speeds and then speed away or evade when completed. Aircraft, which are cargo transports rely on STOL Capabilities and once airborne must conserve fuel and increase range for efficiency. Such a system can do all this and more.

Currently robotics teams have tactile sensors so the robots will not crush the item they are picking up, they do this by measuring the pressure on the object. We should take this technology and apply it to the leading edge of aircraft wings to help us improve and enhance the performance without compromising the aircraft's abilities for STOL or higher True Air Speeds (TAS). This will save fuel and increase safety. Think on this.

 

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