Airbus has been granted a patent for an airfoil structure for aircraft. The structure includes a load-carrying member that reacts to flight loads and bends and twists in a predefined manner. It also features a leading-edge structure, trailing-edge structure, upper cover, and lower cover, all forming parts of the aerodynamic surface. GlobalData’s report on Airbus gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.
According to GlobalData’s company profile on Airbus, photovoltaic drones was a key innovation area identified from patents. Airbus's grant share as of September 2023 was 62%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.
Airfoil structure with load-carrying member for aircraft
A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11772780B2) describes an innovative airfoil structure for aircraft. The airfoil structure includes a load-carrying member that extends spanwise and consists of alternating first and second sections. The first sections are arranged parallel to the chordwise direction of the airfoil structure, while the second sections are positioned between the forward and rearward corner regions. This configuration allows the load-carrying member to have selected stiffness properties, enabling the airfoil structure to bend and twist in a predefined manner in response to flight loads.
The airfoil structure also features a leading-edge structure, a trailing-edge structure, an upper cover, and a lower cover. The leading-edge structure forms the front part of the aerodynamic surface and is fixedly mounted to the load-carrying member. Similarly, the trailing-edge structure forms the rear part of the aerodynamic surface and is also fixedly mounted to the load-carrying member. The upper cover and lower cover form the upper and lower parts of the aerodynamic surface, respectively, and are both mounted to the load-carrying member.
The patent further discloses that the stiffness properties of the load-carrying member can be adjusted to achieve specific bending and twisting behavior. An adjustment component can be fixedly attached to the load-carrying member at a selected location, altering the cross-sectional shape or material properties of the load-carrying member. This adjustment allows the airfoil structure to bend and twist differently in response to flight loads compared to the original configuration.
The patent also mentions that the airfoil structure can be used in various aircraft applications. It can be part of a high aspect ratio aircraft wing or a moveable part of a folding aircraft wing. Additionally, the patent covers the method of manufacturing the airfoil structure, which involves providing the load-carrying member, attaching the leading-edge and trailing-edge structures, and mounting the upper and lower covers.
In summary, this granted patent introduces an airfoil structure with a unique load-carrying member design that allows for controlled bending and twisting in response to flight loads. The adjustable stiffness properties and modular components offer flexibility in tailoring the airfoil structure's behavior. This innovation has potential applications in different aircraft configurations and can contribute to improved aerodynamic performance.