Stability and morphing characteristics of bistable composite laminates
Tawfik, Samer Anwar
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The focus of the current research is to investigate the potential of using bistable unsymmetric cross-ply laminated composites as a means for achieving structures with morphed characteristics. To this end, an investigation of the design space for laminated composites exhibiting bistable behavior is undertaken and the key parameters controlling their behavior are identified. For this purpose a nonlinear Finite Element methodology using ABAQUS code is developed to predict both the cured shapes and the stability characteristics of unsymmetric cross-ply laminates. In addition, an experimental program is developed to validate the analytically predicted results through comparison with test data. A new method is proposed for attaching piezoelectric actuators to a bistable panel in order to preserve its favorable stability characteristics as well as optimizing the actuators performance. The developed nonlinear FE methodology is extended to predict the actuation requirements of bistable panels. Actuator requirements, predicted using the nonlinear FE analysis, are found to be in agreement with the test results. The current research also explores the potential for implementing bistable panels for Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle (UAV) wing configuration. To this end, a set of bistable panels is manufactured by combining symmetric and unsymmetric balanced and unbalanced stacking sequence and their stability characteristics are predicted. A preliminary analysis of the aerodynamic characteristics of the manufactured panels is carried out and the aerodynamic benefits of manufactured bistable panel are noted.