Specialists controlled by Boeing and NASA project Spanwise Adaptive Wing have developed a special alloy, with which you can make lightweight folding wings.
The idea of creating a flexible wing is not new, but all the developers who tried to do something like that before inevitably encountered difficulties – the hydraulic mechanisms used to bend the wings were cumbersome, heavy and therefore the aircraft equipped with them had more flaws than advantages. The new drives,developed byNASA, together with Boeing and several research centers, is lighter than the old prototypes by 80%. They are made of alloys with a “shape memory”, and even they can be used even in supersonic aircraft.
Recently, NASA conducted tests controlled remotely prototype, whose wings can bend up and down from 0 to 70 degrees. The prototype carried out three flights with wings in the “zero” position, with 70 degrees upward and downward as much.
Engineers came to the conclusion that the use of the new alloy is justified, because the prototype produced excellent performance throughout the three flights. The material from which the wings are made, also showed itself very well, remaining stable throughout all three flights, which could not be said about other materials that tried to apply for similar purposes earlier.
The developers believe that in the future they will be able to make lighter and simple designs with longer and narrow folding wings. This will reduce fuel consumption, and will also help aircraft to adapt to difficult air conditions and facilitate supersonic flights.