Journal Article

Impact of Morphing Trailing Edge on Mission Performance for the Common Research Model


D. A. Burdette, and J. R. R. A. Martins


Journal of Aircraft, 56(1):369–384, 2019



Nonmorphing, conventional aircraft wings are designed for a compromise of good performance at a variety of flight conditions. Accordingly, such wings perform suboptimally when considered at a single flight condition. Morphing trailing-edge devices offer an opportunity to change this wing design paradigm by allowing wings to adapt to varying flight conditions. This adaptability weakens the correlation between performance at various flight conditions and increases the robustness of the wing’s performance, providing closer-to-optimal performance at each flight condition. To study the isolated aerodynamic effects of this increased robustness, we perform a number of aerodynamic and aerostructural shape optimizations of a morphing trailing-edge device that can change the shape of the rear 10% of the wing at a variety of flight conditions on the Common Research Model aircraft configuration. The aerodynamically optimized morphing configuration yields a 1.0% fuel burn reduction for a long-range mission. When performing aerostructural optimization, which considers structural deformations and structural weight reductions enabled by active load alleviation, the fuel burn reduction is 2.7%.