In-situ boundary layer transition detection on multi-segmental (a)synchronous morphing wings

Vincent L. Stuber*, Tigran Mkhoyan, Roeland De Breuker, Sybrand van der Zwaag

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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This paper presents an experimental method to detect in-situ the location of transition on a multi-segmental trailing edge camber morphing wing during synchronous and asynchronous morphing. The wing consists of six independently morphing segments with two of the segments instrumented with eight embedded piezoelectric sensors distributed uniformly along the chord. Using suitable data processing, each of the sensors gives a signal that can be used to determine the state of the boundary layer (laminar, transitional, turbulent) at the location of that sensor. The results showed that synchronous morphing can substantially shift the location of transition, up to 20% of the chord length for angles of attack below 9°. Differences in the location of transition up to 5% are found between the near-root and near-tip segment. Using a dedicated data processing approach, the location of transition could be reconstructed in case of complex asynchronous morphing involving one to five segments. The results show a shift in the location of transition when morphing neighboring segments, but also show that non-neighboring segments have a minimal effect. This sensing method holds significant promise for online advanced morphing control to delay transition and thereby reducing skin friction drag.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100356
Number of pages14
JournalMeasurement: Sensors
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Laminar-to-turbulent transition
  • Morphing wing
  • Piezoelectricity
  • Wind tunnel experiments


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