Pressure actuated cellular structures (PACS) are a biologically inspired morphing concept for the development of energy efficient, lightweight and applicable flexible adaptive structures. Similar to the movement of nastic plants, the functional principle of PACS is based on the controlled volumetric expansion of pressure cells.
This paper proposes and presents PAC structures in aviation as control surfaces. Future airfoil concepts require smaller installation spaces for actuators as well as energy-efficient lightweight design concepts. Due to the functional principle of fluid actuation and the combination of actuator and control surface, shape-variable, pressure-activated cell structures offer great advantages over other actuation concepts. These include improved aerodynamics, reduced component complexity, higher load carrying capacity and high motion resolution. The current PACS-concept will be further developed into a component for a real application. This requires both new manufacturing methods and improved design procedures.
Current progress in the manufacturing process of PACS is presented and various manufacturing processes are compared. In addition, the entire design process from the preliminary design to the functioning prototype of an aileron is presented. A novel design approach that meets the requirements of a real aerodynamic component will be presented, discussed and compared to the current state of the art. First experimental results will be compared with the expected structural and shape changing performance from the numerical results