NASA engineers successfully tested on the flying models a fundamentally new node – a drive for folding the wing, based on the technology of activating the alloy with shape memory. There are no usual pneumatic, electromechanical or hydraulic devices, there are not many details. The wing bends because it was programmed to take the desired form when applying a certain impact.
To achieve this, scientists had to develop a new alloy based on hafnium, nickel and titanium. It is distinguished not only by the fact of shape memory, but also by the effort with which the metal product accepts it. The torque reaches 564 Nm, which is enough to bend the 136-kilogram section of the wing of the aircraft relative to the main part by 90 degrees. Straight in flight, with high accuracy, to maintain the stability of the aircraft in the air.
The key achievement here is that the alloy takes the “stored” form not in itself, but is controlled. And the control system has the ability to stop the process by moving the section to the specified distance. True, it is not clear what exactly is the initiator of the process, how much is this reliable in comparison with the traditional mechanisms and how to initially bring the wing into a form that differs from the stored one by the press?
The authors of the technology give two obvious advantages. The wing drive became 80% lighter after removing the old mechanisms. Plus, the innovation is excellent for deck aviation, which is stored with folded wings. Currently, a more powerful version of the drive is being developed, with a torque of up to 2260 Nm, which will be tested already on a real laboratory plane in a few months.js.src = “&version=v2.8”; 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));