FlexTAC: An Advanced Submarine Control Surface and Actuation System
NAVAL SURFACE WARFARE CENTER CARDEROCK DIV BETHESDA MD POPULATION AND FLUIDSSYSTEMS DEPT
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An electrically-actuated flexible tab was tested on a model of a submarine sternplane comprised of a fixed stabilizer with a hinged flap. The tab was built into the trailing edge of the flap and was tested for its ability to control overall lift and reduce the torque required to rotate the flap itself. Shape memory alloy wires, embedded in a flexible silicone compound along the length of the tab, pulled on the tabs rear edge to curl it to one side or the other. The fixed portion stabilizer and flap were mounted on balances that measured the six forces and moments on each of those sections to measure the overall and individual element forces. These tests were performed in the 36-inch Water Tunnel at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, over a range of angles of attack and flap that are typical of submarine operations. In addition to the effect of the tab on the flap torque and overall sternplane performance, the electrical power and response rates of the wire actuators were measured along with the contour of the flexible tab while under load. The predictions of a numerical control surface optimization scheme using two RANS codes were compared to the experimental results to test the codes fidelity. This report presents the experimental results, describes the design of the SMA actuators and their control system, and presents the CFD calculations of the sternplane characteristics using the numerical optimization scheme.