Airplanes

Airplane Wings That Can Shape-Shift

U.S. Air Force researchers are working on what they call a Variable Camber Compliant Wing, which can change its shape mid-flight. The wing would operate autonomously, changing its camber depending on flying conditions to maximize the plane's aerodynamic efficiency. By flexing into a shape with low camber, the wings would enable the plane to travel faster and save fuel. A high-camber shape, on the other hand, would increase the drag on the aircraft.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. Nearly a century before the Wright Brothers' famous flight, Sir George Cayley wrote papers stating that propulsion, control, and lift were the basic requirements for flight. 00:46

  2. The word "camber" can be used to describe the curvature of an airplane wing. 01:39

  3. Air Force engineers have developed wings that can change their camber in mid-air, called Variable Camber Compliant Wings. 02:25

Written by Curiosity Staff March 31, 2016

Curiosity uses cookies to improve site performance, for analytics and for advertising. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies, our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.