The new wing design has been tested in the wind tunnel. Its design does not rely on surfaces such as ailerons to control roll and pitch as traditional wings. More specifically, the entire wing or only a portion of the wing is deformed by the addition of a mixture of rigid and flexible members in its structure. The new wing structure consists of thousands of small triangles resembling matchsticks that are bolted together to form an open, lightweight mesh frame that is covered by a similar polymer material.
The resulting wing is lighter and more energy efficient than conventional wings made of metal or composite materials. The result is a structurally rigid rubbery polymer and an extremely light and low density metamaterial of aerogel. The team designed a wing that lacks motors and cables for deformation and uses a system that automatically responds to changes in aerodynamic loads. Essentially, it is an automatic adjustment wing reconfiguration process for different flight phases.
The wing is able to match the shape to the load at different angles of attack. This is achieved by carefully designing the relative positions of the struts with different resilience, allowing the wings to bend in a particular manner in a particular area in response to a particular stress. The team is currently testing a wing that is the same size as a single-seat aircraft.