FlexFoil™ variable geometry control surfaces represent a major improvement over conventional aircraft flaps. By exploiting the natural elasticity of aviation grade materials the FlexFoil™ control surface changes the camber of a wing during flight by shape morphing rather than through the heavy and cumbersome mechanisms of conventional wing assemblies. Shape morphing performs the large controlled deformations (from -9° to + 40°) needed for landing and takeoff without separating from the rest of the wing. Our new approach also permits discrete span-wise twist of the compliant edge at high response rates (30 degrees/sec.) to reduce induced drag and withstand external loads (air loads, inertial loads etc.), yet it is strong and stiff with very small and distributed strains on the mechanical structures and control surfaces.
FlexSys has developed variable geometry trailing edge structures for fixed-wing aircraft. Since 2001, FlexSys has designed, built and tested four such structures, including three wind tunnel models, one structural, and one flight test specimen.
FlexSys variable geometry technology can be applied to both the leading edge and trailing edge control surfaces for rotorcraft to improve flow characteristics at high rates.
Wind conditions vary continuously – so does the aerodynamic shape of FlexSys Smart Blade. By continuously adjusting the local geometry of the blade, FlexSys Smart Blade captures 15% more energy and results in a significant reduction in stresses.
Large wind turbines must operate under very turbulent and unpredictable environmental conditions. Due to sudden, compact gusts, the loads on the blades vary over intervals of time much shorter (1-3Hz) than the response times of today’s variable speed rotors or active blade pitch mechanisms, and vary over different sections of the at any given time. The resulting stochastic loads become the performance limitations and the design drivers for the blades and some components of the drive train and structure.
FlexSys has impressive credentials for aerodynamics, but for Industry we offer an exciting range of compliant and single-part mechanism designs that are just not possible any other way. Whether you need to reduce part count, or eliminate backlash, or need a repeatable performance profile that is inexpensive and highly reliable, FlexSys can help. Our creative design engineers can look at your assemblies and quickly determine if it could benefit from this out-of-the-box design approach.
We also teamed with the National Science Foundation to bring compliant design to the mainstream and developed FlexWorksOnline, a cloud-based design tool that helps reduce motion translation to a single device. See our Services section for more on our design services.
FlexSys technology has demonstrated many ways that it is possible to replace common types of complex multi-part mechanisms with compliant single body (or "monoform") devices that ideally require no assembly at all.
Our expertise has pioneered the research and development of many of the most practical and robust MEMS devices to date, including power systems, linear actuators, motion amplifiers, precision positioning devices and compliant mechanisms that don’t require assembly.
By distributing compliance over the whole mechanism, a tissue friendly manipulator can direct very specific and carefully defined gripping strength for surgery at macro- and micro scales but afford enough flexibility to not damage the tissue. They are also flexible enough to access difficult surgery targets with minimum invasion of surrounding areas . A complex geometry monoform can be produced inexpensively to grasp and hold tissues without injury for long periods and then be disposed of as appropriate.
In addition to surgical instruments, compliant joint prosthetics can be devised to mimic the elasticity of connective tissues that are naturally both strong and flexible.
Compliant monoform mechanisms can produce significant amplification (65X) of small deflections in a compact, high frequency system without the links and joints of a conventional mechanism.
Compliant grippers have many uses for the handling of delicate objects where over compression might damage an objects surface, structural or internal integrity.
FlexSys has demonstrated a number of compliant mechanism designs that distribute flexural strain throughout the device in ways that enhance the performance of existing devices as well as allowing many new functions in single-use applications.