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Smart high lift devices for next generation wings

Activity Code: AAT-2007-1.1-01; AAT-2007-1.1-02 
Coordinator: Dr Hans Peter Monner, Institute of Composite Structures and Adaptive Systems, German Aerospace Center (DLR)


SADE aims at a major step forward in the development and evaluation of the potential of morphing airframe technologies and contributes to the research work called for the reduction of carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides emissions through new intelligent low-weight structures. All aerodynamic concepts for significant reduction of drag such as laminarisation require slim high-aspect-ratio wings. However, state-of-the-art high lift systems will suffer from the reduced construction space and do not cope with the required surface quality. Thus, SADE develops suitable 'morphing' high lift devices.

The seamless 'smart leading edge device' is an indispensable enabler for laminar wings and offers a great benefit for reduction of acoustic emissions, the 'smart single slotted flap' with active camber capability permits a further increased lift. Thanks to their ability to adapt the wing's shape, both devices also offer aerodynamic benefits for cruise flight.

Morphing devices imply the integration of drive systems into tailored lightweight structures and therefore reduce complexity and mass. Furthermore, focussing on electric actuators the energy consumption can be reduced, which directly reduces the aircraft operational costs as well as the environmental impact. However, the high elasticity required for efficient adaptability of the morphing structure is diametrically opposed to the structural targets of conventional wing design like stiffness and strength. To find the optimum compromise precise knowledge on target shapes for maximum high lift performance and sizing loads is mandatory. Therefore, SADE comprises all relevant disciplines for the investigation of morphing wings and operates a state-of-the-art virtual development platform. Nevertheless, SADE focuses on the structural challenge of realising morphing high lift devices.

SADE builds on available promising concepts for smart structures. The technological realisation and optimisation of these concepts towards the special requirements of full scale systems is the most essential challenge for morphing today. Another challenge results from the aeroelastic condition the structural system is optimised for. Hence, a realistic full scale section of a morphing wing will be manufactured and tested in the TsAGI T101 wind tunnel for an investigation these effects.

Project Details:

Start Date: 01.05.2008
End Date: 30.04.2012
EU Contribution: 4.79 Mio. Euro
Total Costs: 7.09 Mio. Euro
Funding Scheme: Small or medium-scale focused research project
Administrative Contact Person: Michael Renker, Michael.Renker@dlr.de
Dr Hans Peter Monner, Hans.Monner@dlr.de
Project Website:http://www.smr.ch/sade/sade_public/index.html


  • German Aerospace Center (DLR), Germany
  • Airbus Operations GmbH, Germany
  • Aircraft Research Association ltd., United Kingdom
  • SMR Engineering & Development SA, Switzerland
  • Federal State Unitary Enterprise the Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute Named after Prof. N.E. Zhukovsky, Russian Federation
  • Piaggio Aero Industries SPA, Italy
  • Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen, Germany
  • Centro Italiano Ricerche Aerospaziali SCPA, Italy
  • Technische Universität Delft, Netherlands
  • Totalforsvarets Forskningsinstitut, Sweden
  • Cranfield University, United Kingdom
  • Výzkumný a zkušební letecký ústav A.S., Czech Republic
  • EADS Deutschland GmbH, Germany