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The Transformers are Coming – At Least for Airplanes and Wind Turbines

Apr 04, 2019

MADCAT (Mission Adaptive Digital Composite Aerostructure Technologies) is a team of NASA researchers creating an airplane wing that literally transforms its shape in flight. That has only ever been seen in the sci-fi world of shapeshifting robots (the Transformers). The entire aerospace industry could be revolutionized by this new wing capable of automatically morphing during flight.  transformers logo

See a short video featuring shape-shifting airplane wing:

Wing Transformation video
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Conventional airplane wings are not designed currently to optimize in response to whatever flight conditions they may encounter. This new NASA wing can automatically reassemble itself depending on the conditions it is flying into, thousands of feet in the air. The newly designed, futuristic struts are made of varying flexibility and stiffness, covered with a thin polymer layer, making it possible for the wing to deform and reform itself in flight. Imagine, your future flights with no turbulence.

Read about new shape-changing wings »

A lightweight, shape-shifting wing suggests that the ideal aircraft shape may be in question. This new shape-changing wing technology could lead aeronautical engineers to design aircraft that don’t look like “tubes with wings”. The near future of airplanes could have an integrated body and wing. For the electrical contractor, this technology and potential new design could also impact and change the design of the wing-like blades of wind turbines, affecting their transportation, construction, installation and operation. 


NECA Technology – the Project for Applied and Disruptive Technology
, explores the world of technology and keeps members informed of what’s happening today, and of what will be launched in the not-too-distant future. Dr. Joey Shorter has an extensive background in education and experience in translating the work of academics into understandable, practical ideas.