At first glance it may seem that the wings of the aircraft are constructed very simply. However, inside them there is a complex system of wires and motors for controlling flaps and other mechanical elements. The complex structure directly affects the cost of aircraft, the duration of their assembly and the complexity of maintenance. To lower the cost of the aircraft, the NASA space agency and researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology presented a simplified wing design that does not have separate moving elements, and is entirely flexible and adaptive to any load.
The structure of the new generation of wings is a collection of thousands of tiny triangles and has a lot of empty space. Due to its lightness and flexibility, numerous engines are not needed to deform the wing – the system itself responds to changes in aerodynamic pressure. To make the wings react correctly to different loads, the researchers carefully worked on their position and gave the spacers different flexibility.
Due to the use of lightweight materials, the resulting wings do not have the same weight as ordinary wings made of metal and composite materials. Consequently, they require less energy, which is also a huge plus for the aircraft in which they will be used. The absence of ailerons and other elements to change direction, in turn, promises to significantly reduce the cost and duration of development. The new design of the wings has already been tested in a wind tunnel.