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Testing and Analysis of Shape-memory Polymers for Morphing Aircraft Skin Application

Rauscher, Scott Gibson (2008) Testing and Analysis of Shape-memory Polymers for Morphing Aircraft Skin Application. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Morphing aircraft have the potential to possess a variety of advantages over current static aircraft, such as improved maneuverability, increased speed and better fuel efficiency. This thesis focuses on testing the feasibility of a shape-memory polymer to function as the skin of a morphing aircraft undergoing the wing-sweep method of wing shape-change. A review of literature is presented, giving a brief history of shape-memory polymers, an overview of current significant shape-memory polymer application, an overview of current morphing aircraft in morphing application and an overview of the current methods to activate shape-memory polymers. Analytical and finite element models are created to predict out-of-plane deformations caused by aerodynamic loads on an independently functioning sub-section of a tile array that would comprise the skin of a morphing aircraft. Five generations of a shape-memory polymer tile sub-section with embedded fibers are described and subsequently tested to confirm analytical and finite element models. Alternate shape-memory polymer tile sub-sections are created to specifically address the problem of buckling as the tile experiences shear-induced shape-change mimicking that seen in a morphing aircraft. Bi-axial pre-strains are induced on the alternate tile sub-sections to successfully cure the buckling problem. Finite element modeling, thermal analytical analysis and screw-driven load frame machine data are used to calculate the power required to induce shape-change as well as sufficiently heat the tile sub-section via its embedded wires. Power requirements, experimental results and modeling results are discussed in terms of real-world feasibility. Finally, suggestions are made for future work on a similar topic.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Rauscher, Scott
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairClark, Williamwclark@pitt.eduWCLARK
Committee MemberWeiland, Lisalmw36@pitt.eduLMW36
Committee MemberSlaughter, Williamwss@pitt.eduWSS
Date: 8 September 2008
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 11 April 2008
Approval Date: 8 September 2008
Submission Date: 15 April 2008
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Swanson School of Engineering > Mechanical Engineering
Degree: MSME - Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Nichrome; Ritz Method; Veriflex
Other ID:, etd-04152008-141110
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:37
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:40


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