Due to recent advances in polymers, photovoltaics, and batteries a unique type of aircraft may be feasible. This is a "solid-state" aircraft, with no conventional mechanical moving parts. Airfoil, propulsion, energy production, energy storage and control are combined in an integrated structure. The key material of this concept is an ionic polymeric-metal composite (IPMC) that provides source of control and propulsion. This material has the unique capability of deforming in an electric field and returning to its original shape when the field is removed. Combining the IPMC with thin-film batteries and thin-film photovoltaics provides both energy source and storage in the same structure. The characteristics of the materials enables flapping motion of the wing to be utilized to generate the main propulsive force. Analysis shows that a number of design configurations can be produced to enable flight over a range of latitudes on Earth, Venus and possibly Mars.
M. Shahinpoor et al., "Solid State Aircraft Concept Overview," Proceedings of the 2004 NASA/DoD Conference on Evolvable Hardware, 2004, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Jan 2004.
The definitive version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/EH.2004.1310846
2004 NASA/DoD Conference on Evolvable Hardware, 2004
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Keywords and Phrases
IPMC; Aerospace Engineering; Aircraft; Airfoil; Batteries; Composite Materials; Design Configuration; Electric Field Deformation; Energy Control; Energy Production; Energy Source; Energy Storage; Flapping Motion; Integrated Structure; Ionic Polymeric-Metal Composite; Photovoltaics; Polymers; Power Control; Propulsion; Solid State Aircraft; Space Vehicle Electronics; Space Vehicle Power Plants; Thin Film Devices; Thin Films
Article - Conference proceedings
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