Table of Contents
ISRN Materials Science
Volume 2013, Article ID 189659, 8 pages
Research Article

Piezoelectric Microfiber Composite Actuators for Morphing Wings

Department of Physics, California State University at San Bernardino, 5500 University Parkway, San Bernardino, CA 92407, USA

Received 27 November 2012; Accepted 22 December 2012

Academic Editors: I. Dubenko and K. Hokamoto

Copyright © 2013 Timothy D. Usher et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Morphing wing technologies provide expanded functionality in piloted and robotic aircraft, extending particular vehicle mission parameters as well as increasing the role of aviation in both military and civilian applications. However, realizing control surfaces that do not void the benefits of morphing wings presents challenges that can be addressed with microfiber composite actuators (MFCs). We present two approaches for realizing control surfaces. In one approach, flap-like structures are formed by bonding MFCs to each side of a metal substrate. In the other approach, MFCs are bonded directly to the wing. Counter intuitively, the flap approach resulted in larger voltage actuation curvatures, with increased mass load. Actuation performance, defined as the ratio of curvature per applied voltage, was as large as (kV·mm)−1. The direct bonding approach reveals that at zero wing pressure, up to μm of displacement could be realized.