NEAR is currently developing a practical, variable geometry control surface for submarine applications under a DARPA SBIR Phase II contract. This system offers reduced weight, complexity, power consumption, and cost as compared to other potential solutions. The complete system incorporates an array of surface pressure sensors to monitor the boundary layer state, control laws to provide feedback for real-time manipulation of the foil, and a simplified shape control mechanism. During the Phase II program NEAR will 1) develop an analytical capability to predict the shape of the adaptive control surface as a function of system design parameters, ambient fluid forces, and actuator position, 2) design an adaptive control surface which meets the structural and operational requirements of their Phase III commercialization partner, 3) develop the closed-loop control system including hardware and algorithm, 4) fabricate a fully operational adaptive control surface prototype, and 5) demonstrate the prototype through wind tunnel testing.
Commercial Applications: A simple and practical variable geometry technology can be used to improve the performance and efficiency of numerous aero/hydrodynamic vehicles. For submarines, the proposed technology can be used to generate advanced control surfaces, sails, periscopes, and propeller blades. For aircraft applications, the proposed technology can be applied to adaptive turbine engine inlets and for advanced research on turbine engine blade design.
- Pruzan, D. A., A Practical Variable Geometry Aero/Hydrodynamic Control Surface, SBIR Phase I Final Report, DARPA Contract No. DAAH01-96-C-R225, NEAR TR 518, 1997.
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