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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/T008083/1
Title: AdAPTS: Adaptive Aerostructures for Power and Transportation Sustainability
Principal Investigator: Woods, Dr B K S
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
AgustaWestland Airbus Group Limited Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult
University of Michigan Vestas
Department: Aerospace Engineering
Organisation: University of Bristol
Scheme: EPSRC Fellowship
Starts: 01 April 2020 Ends: 31 March 2025 Value (£): 1,119,057
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Aerodynamics
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Aerospace, Defence and Marine
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
29 Jan 2020 Engineering Fellowship Interview Panel 29 and 30 January 2020 Announced
08 Oct 2019 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 8 and 9 October 2019 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Adaptive Aerostructures for Power and Transportation Sustainability (AdAPTS) is an Early Career Fellowship research project which will advance an ambitious new approach to the design of aerostructures by harnessing the adaptability of compliance-based morphing to continuously optimise aerodynamic performance. This will allow for greener and more sustainable fixed and rotary wing transportation and wind turbine power generation through reduced aerodynamic drag, increased efficiency and improved resilience to changing operating conditions.

Compliance-based adaptive aerostructures are designed to exhibit structural and material flexibility that allows them to change their shape in a smooth and continuous manner. These changes in shape are isolated to certain desired motions in specific areas of an aerodynamic surface, for example the amount of curvature at the rear of an aerofoil, to allow for targeted changes in shape while retaining overall strength. These changes in shape improve the ability of the wing or blade to produce lift, minimise the amount of drag generated, and allow for continuous adaptation to changing operating conditions. Initial work has shown that the family of compliance-based morphing devices developed by the PI can provide significant improvements in performance of 5-25%.

While the potential benefits are promising, much work remains to make compliance-based morphing a viable solution. These types of structures are poorly understood, and the underlying technologies need significant development. The poor understanding of the performance and behaviour of these structures is due to their compliant nature, which means that the structural, aerodynamic, and actuation characteristics are all highly coupled - with the aerodynamic loading affecting the actuated shape, which in turn affects the aerodynamics. This coupling requires simulation of all of the physics involved in a cohesive, coupled manner. Furthermore, the structural, material, and actuation technologies used to achieve these smooth and continuous deformed shapes are novel, and therefore significant effort is needed to mature them to the point where they can be used in real-world applications. Finally, industry partners in the fixed wing, rotary wing, and wind turbine fields see the potential in these technologies, but because they are so novel and different from current approaches, work needs to be done to show the specific, quantitative improvements in performance that these technologies can achieve for their applications.

To address the three sides of this problem, AdAPTS will undertake an ambitious research programme with three parallel streams of work that will: 1.) create a fully comprehensive analysis framework to better understand the hierarchical, coupled performance of compliance-based morphing structures from the bottom up, 2.) rapidly mature the proposed morphing technologies, and 3.) work directly with industry to analyse and design adaptive structures for their products, and to predict the achievable improvements in performance.

Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.bris.ac.uk