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Nhan Nguyen Awarded "Variable-Camber Continuous Aerodynamic Control Surfaces and Methods For Active Wing-Shaping Control" Patent
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Nhan Nguyen Awarded "Variable-Camber Continuous Aerodynamic Control Surfaces and Methods For Active Wing-Shaping Control" Patent

Dr. Nhan Nguyen has been awarded a U.S. patent entitled “Variable Camber Continuous Aerodynamic Control Surfaces and Methods for Active Wing Shaping Control” issued on January 5, 2016. The patent discloses innovative concepts for wing-shaping control by means of variable-camber continuous-trailing edge-flap systems and drag-cognizant multi-objective flight control technology for drag reduction of next-generation transport aircraft.

Modern aircraft, such as the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350, employ aerodynamic re-optimization control technologies to minimize cruise-drag for fuel savings. The NASA patented concepts further advance these modern aircraft technologies to allow greater degrees of freedom for wing-shaping control via the use of variable-camber continuous-control surfaces for mission-adaptive aircraft performance. The multi-objective flight control technology addresses a future technology need when next-generation aircraft could employ distributed control surfaces. By simultaneously achieving multiple control objectives, this flight control technology could improve the efficiency and safety of future transport aircraft. These concepts have been validated in wind tunnel tests that have shown the potential drag-reduction benefits of wing-shaping control technology.

BACKGROUND: Dr. Nhan Nguyen proposed and won a NASA Innovation Funds award in 2010 for the proposal entitled “Elastically Shaped Future Aircraft Concept.” This work, conducted over a brief four-month period, led to the development of several innovative aircraft and control actuation concepts. The Boeing Company became interested in this work and advocated for collaboration with NASA to further develop the technology. This led to an ongoing NASA/Boeing collaboration in this area since 2012 to evaluate the variable-camber continuous-trailing edge-flap system and further develop multi-objective flight control. This work initially transitioned into the NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) Subsonic Fixed-Wing project in FY11, and then became a fully-funded research area under the Fixed-Wing project from FY12-FY14. From FY15, the project continues under the Advanced Air Transport Technology (AATT) project.

NASA PROGRAM FUNDING: Advanced Air Transport Technology (AATT) project, Advanced Air Vehicle Program (AAVP), Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD)


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