Electro-active materials offer due to their multivariate compliant nature a great potential for integrating the lift producing system and the control system into one. This work presents the first step in describing both the mechanical and aerodynamic performance of such materials and focuses on both understanding the nature of such materials in aerodynamic applications and on analysing their aerodynamic performance. Experiments were conducted in a wind tunnel for both silicone-based and acrylic-based membranes at zero prestrain in electrically passive, active and pulsing conditions. A wide range of fixed voltages and pulsing frequencies are considered. Due to their hyperviscoelastic nature, both short and long term hysteresis analysis are conducted in terms of aerodynamic performance.

Project leader : Alex Barbu

Main supervisor(s): Prof Ganapathisubramani, Dr Roeland De Kat

​Electroactive membrane wing