Adam Pinkstone

Adam Pinkstone

Mechanical Engineering with Aeronautics BEng

The Development of a Mechanism for the Actuation of a Morphing Winglet

This self-proposed project, was to develop a mechanism for actuating a winglet that can have both variable cant and twist angles. The reason for doing this is that current research has shown that efficiency gains of 5-6% can be achieved; translating to millions of pounds savings in the aviation industry. The use of winglets on aircraft is a bio-inspired concept that originates at the tips of birds wings, where their primary flight feathers curl upwards when extra lift and speed or efficient gliding is required. These winglets allow for the vortex drag, created as a result of the pressure difference between the top and bottom of the wing, to be significantly reduced and therefore increase the overall flight mission's efficiency. These benefits mean that winglets have and are being adopted throughout the civil aviation industry and are creating huge fuel savings with the efficiency benefits gained. There are however greater efficiencies to be gained from a winglet system that can move and adapt to the aerodynamic environment. These morphing winglets, unlike traditionally used fixed winglets (which are optimised for the highest average efficiency during a flight or for the longest stage of that flight), can be optimised for the highest possible efficiency at any one point during the flight envelope.