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A morphing metastructure concept combining shape memory alloy wires and permanent magnets for multistable behavior

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This article presents a novel morphing unit cell concept which relies on the combination of shape memory alloy wires for actuation and permanent magnets to enable multistability. Two distinct applications are investigated experimentally, consisting in a morphing beam metastructure made with three unit cells and a variable camber airfoil metastructure having six unit cells in the chord-wise direction. Tests are performed to assess the influence of the permanent magnets on the morphing behavior of the two referred metastructures. It is verified that the permanent magnets are able to provide new stable equilibrium configurations to the metastructure and to reduce the time necessary for morphing. Another interesting feature, which enables the reduction in energy consumption, is that, due to the magnetic interactions, the thermal activation of the SMA wires can be ceased once an equilibrium configuration is achieved. The paper describes the design premises, evaluates its limitations and devises future improvements.

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The authors are grateful for funding received by the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development - CNPq (Grant #402238/2013-3), the Brazilian National Institute of Science and Technology of Smart Structures in Engineering (INCT–EIE, CNPq Grant #574001/2008-5), the Brazilian Science without Borders program (CNPq Grant #202442/2014-4), the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR, Grant #FA9550-12-1-0447) and the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP, Grants #2015/20363-6 and #2018/15894-0). T.P. Sales is grateful to the Dept. of Aerospace Engineering of the University of Michigan and to the Adaptive Intelligent Multifunctional Structures Laboratory for support provided during his Sandwich Doctorate research period.

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Correspondence to Thiago de P. Sales.

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Sales, T.P., Rade, D.A. & Inman, D.J. A morphing metastructure concept combining shape memory alloy wires and permanent magnets for multistable behavior. J Braz. Soc. Mech. Sci. Eng. 42, 122 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40430-020-2202-0

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  • Morphing wings
  • Adaptive structures
  • Metastructure
  • Shape memory alloys
  • Permanent magnets
  • Multistability