Title Light Rigidizable Inflatable Wings for UAVs: Resin and Manufacturing Development
Source Proc. 46th AIAA/ASME/ASCE/AHS/ASC Structures, Structural Dynamics, and Materials Conf., paper 2005-1882
Year 2005
Author(s) Allred, R. E.; Hoyt, A. E.; Harrah, L. A.; Scarborough, S. ; Mackusick, M. B.; Smith, T.
Abstract The objective of this ongoing study is to prove the feasibility of using light-curing resins to rigidize an inflatable wing for terrestrial and space applications. Current inflatable wings rely on the continuous presence of an inflation gas to maintain their shape. Rigidization of inflatable wings provides several potential advantages, including reducing the vulnerability to punctures, increasing stiffness and load-carrying capability, allowing a higher aspect ratio for high altitude efficiency and longer missions, and reducing weight by eliminating the make up pressurization supply. A previous multifaceted study included defining operating environments for Mars survey craft and military UAVs; analyzing wing loads during deployment and rigidization as a function of internal pressure and leak rate to determine needed rigidization times; developing rapid cure resin formulations with long shelf lives; fabricating, deploying, and rigidizing a wing half-span; and testing and characterizing the rigidized wing. Results show that the wings must deploy and cure rapidly at low temperatures for some missions. The maximum time allowed for the resin to rigidize is the range in time that the inflated and unrigidized wing maintains structural integrity to fly and provide lift for the vehicle while the wing is undergoing rigidization. The current work includes internal light selection for wing rigidization, evaluation of urethane acrylate resin systems, and wing design and analysis.
Keywords Inflatable wing, rigidization, UV cure, LED cure, resin sensitizers, inflatable structures, low temperature cure, urethane acrylate resin

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