New Bird-Like Airplane Wing Concept Could Change the Future of Aircraft Design!
We may have finally mastered the efficiency and versatility of nature’s design of the bird wing. Researchers led by NASA has created a new bird-like airplane wing that is flexible and morphs just like a bird’s wing during flight. Birds adjust the shape of their wings continually during flight to adapt to various flight conditions and to change direction rapidly. That is exactly what researchers are hoping to achieve with the new wing design. The prototype measure 14 feet (4 m) wide and is constructed of thousands of units that fit together and function similarly to a bird’s wing.
Traditionally aircraft wings are constructed in facilities that require enormous amounts of space to construct and assemble each segment of the wing which eventually have to be transported on large aircrafts or boats. With the new design, the units can be assembled by robots in a way that predicts exactly what shape its going to be and how many of which components to use. The ultralight modular units are easily packed down to allow transport making it ideal for space exploration purposes.
For now, researchers are focusing on its application to revolutionize the way aircrafts are designed. For military applications the new wing could theoretically allow aircraft to conduct maneuvers that are virtually impossible to achieve with current military airframes. On the commercial side, aircraft manufacturing costs could be significantly reduced and a new generation of commercial aircrafts that can fly faster, more efficiently and safely under various flight conditions could be achieved.