Numerical and experimental studies at the University of Bristol, in collaboration with Airbus, have considered the effect of floating folding wingtips on aircraft rolling behaviour.

The work has built upon previous investigations to demonstrate the benefits of “Semi-Aeroelastic Hinge” devices to enable reduced drag through increased aspect ratios whilst passively reducing the gust loads.

These tests have shown that the roll rate of high aspect ratio wing aircraft designs can be increased by employing such wingtips without the need for an increase in the control surface area.

Moreover, the roll-rate is shown to be similar to that of a wing without any extension, suggesting retro-fitting an aircraft with such a device may be possible.

The global aerospace sector is facing significant carbon reduction, noise and nitrogen oxide emissions reduction targets. The development of more electric aircraft (MEA) components and systems is a major area of research to help achieve these reduction targets.

The Helicopter Electro-Mechanical Actuation System (HEMAS), funded by the Clean Sky programme, is a highly innovative proof of concept demonstrator developed by the University of Nottingham and leading industry partners. The system demonstrates the benefits of electrification technologies by replacing the hydraulic system with a fully controllable and fault-tolerant electro-mechanical actuation system for helicopter swashplate control.



Advanced composite aerostructures for de-icing

MACANTA – Multifunctional Hierarchical Advanced Composite Aerostructures Utilising the Combined Properties of Different Carbon Nanotube Assemblies – is a £1 million project, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). It brings together a multidisciplinary research team who are developing multifunctional composite aerostructures using different carbon nanotube (CNT) assemblies.

One particular assembly (or architecture) is a highly-aligned CNT web, with a densified thickness of 50nm and aerial density of 20mg/sqm. This web has been successfully embedded in structural joints and shown to be a highly effective, ultra-sensitive strain and damage sensor.

By stacking this web at different orientations, a fully tailorable energy-efficient heating element was also shown to be a viable anti-icing/de-icing device. Additional funding has since been secured to progress this technology to commercialisation.

For more information about the project, please see the MACANTA website.

As part of the UK Aerospace Technology Institute funded Agile Wing Integration (AWI) project, the University of Bristol and Airbus UK have performed low-speed wind tunnel tests on a very flexible 2.4m long model wing.

The objective of the tests has been to validate nonlinear aeroelastic predictions of the static and dynamic behaviour of high-aspect-ratio wings by making detailed simultaneous structural and aerodynamic measurements. Static tests have included the measurement of deflections and resulting lift, drag and pressure distributions for different speeds and root angle of attack. Further tests have characterised the dynamic behaviour, including limit cycle oscillations occurring due to geometric nonlinearities and stall.