NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Revolutionary Flight Concepts
PROPOSAL TITLE:Distributed Flight Controls for UAVs

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Continuum Dynamics, Inc.
34 Lexington Avenue
Ewing ,NJ 08618 - 2302
(609) 538 - 0444

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Robert  M McKillip, Jr.
34 Lexington Avenue
Ewing, NJ  08618 -2302
(609) 538 - 0444

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Two novel flight control actuation concepts for UAV applications are proposed for prototype development, both of which incorporate shape memory alloy (SMA) wires as prime movers. These actuators promise considerable savings in weight, power, and volume over existing electomechanical and hydraulic systems. Incorporation of these actuators within lifting surface structure, or as trailing edge control devices, would greatly simplify the actuation systems of these aircraft, thereby permitting greater payload fraction, increased range, enhanced robustness, and/or smaller vehicle size, and thus reduce both operational and fixed system costs. Choice between the two actuation concepts for a particular installation represents a tradeoff in actuation system bandwidth and power availability, and thus the same vehicle may include both systems depending upon the particular functional requirements. These actuators represent a derivative technology from a previous Army SBIR Phase I/II effort directed at providing in-flight helicopter blade tracking using actively controlled trailing edge tabs, and thus have been designed to have low mass and low power requirements from their inception. Since they lack any physical hinge joints, they may be embedded directly within aircraft lifting surfaces, eliminating interference drag associated with control deflection.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
NASA has a need for advanced control actuation and systems to support long endurance high-altitude UAV applications. This technology would help mitigate known issues with reduced aeroelastic stability of such high altitude platforms, as well as provide vehicle robustness (load alleviation) to atmospheric gusts. Its all-electric actuation and lack of moving parts (i.e., no discrete hinges) enhances the actuator's capability to support longer duration UAV missions planned by NASA for the future.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The actuators developed here could support DoD applications and commercial aircraft uses for UAV flight control and ancillary functions such as deploying flaps, landing gear and doors that house optics or weapons. They have a minimum number of moving parts, are extremely lightweight for the actuation stroke and force they provide, and utilize modest electrical power. In one configuration, electric power is only required to switch the actuator between discrete positions, making this actuator ideally suited for flap deployment and/or trim tab applications. These devices may also be used as auxiliary trim systems and flight control units for manned aircraft.

Form Printed on 08-01-05 13:52