Continuous carbon fibre composite additive manufacturing opens up new possibilities for automated, cost-effective manufacturing of highly-loaded structures. This is achieved by the high design freedom of the process, allowing to tailor the fibre placement and by thereby fully exploiting the anisotropy and strength of the composite material. On the other hand, compliant or so-called morphing mechanisms – exploiting the elastic properties of the material to achieve shape changes – show great potential in improving the flight performance of aerospace structures. Such structures exhibit complex internal topologies, making them prohibitively expensive to manufacture with conventional processes. Combining additive manufacturing of composites with the utilization of morphing mechanisms has the potential to concurrently reduce manufacturing cost whilst greatly improving the flight performance of aerospace structures. The applicability of composite additive manufacturing to morphing aerospace structures is discussed in this letter. For the first time, the complete composite primary- and morphing-structure of a fixed-wing drone was additively manufactured. The drone was successfully flight-tested, evaluating the potential of combining these two emerging technologies.
Falk Runkel, Urban Fasel, Giulio Molinari, Andres F. Arrieta, Paolo Ermanni
Composite Structures, vol. 206, 2018 Nov 14, pp. 750-761
Arthur Schlothauer, Urban Fasel, Dominic Keidel, Paolo Ermanni
Composite Structures, vol. 250, 2020 Sep 14