Rapidly Triggered Shape Memory-Metal RubberTM Morphing Wings for Superb In-Flight Responsivity
NanoSonic has designed and physically demonstrated Shape Memory-Metal RubberTM (SM-MR) thermoresponsive skins that rapidly trigger a mechanically adaptive response in 5-10 seconds over airfoil sections for Remotely Piloted Vehicles (RPV) with wingspans up to 9'. The skin's modulus is reduced by several orders of magnitude at a rate of 13degC/second, yet the wing remains durable and recovers to its nominal structural state efficiently via a nanostructured thermally responsive reinforcing system. SM-MR durable morphing wings are based on shape memory polymers (Tg>95degC) self-assembled with electrically conductive nanoparticles that maintain EMI SE up to -88 dB upon repeated mechanical cycling, and high levels of EMI SE upon 50% elongation. NanoSonic has recently harnessed the observed change in nanoparticle percolation dynamics upon mechanical strain as novel switches and air data sensors with co-located thin film transistors (TFTs). NanoSonic has teamed with the University of Florida to demonstrate morphing wings on Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) that can sense and adapt to the environment on the fly. The current morphing-sensing wing and hardware accommodates less than 5% of the gross RPV weight, and hence, can accommodate additional identification and tracking sensors to provide critical command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) feedback. BENEFIT: NanoSonic's SM-MR electrically conductive, durable, rapid morphing skins shall be initially developed as multifunctional adaptive wings and protective shielding materials for remotely piloted vehicles. Such skins offer the added benefit of air data sensing as a proprietary technique results in unique sensors embedded within the structure. SM-MR will be primarily transitioned onto morphing aircraft to ensure efficient wing morphing and electromagnetic stability during disparate vehicle configurations. Air data and optical sensors will provide remote critical C4ISR feedback. Additional military applications for various forms of the Metal RubberTM nanocomposites include biomimetric systems, thermal control system materials, actuators, lightning strike protection, RF shielding for large area structures and sensors. Dual-use civil applications include low modulus conducting electrodes for high strain mechanical actuator and sensor devices, such as in medical prostheses or implanted bio-electronic devices, lightweight mechanical, electrical and thermal interconnection of electronic components on conventional circuit boards, and lightweight electronic flex circuits.
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