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Ultra-Light Composite Airplane Wing Twists & Morphs During Flight

The shape of an airplane wing has enormous effects on flight – but there isn't just one best wing shape. That definition changes for different aircraft, for different flights of the same aircraft, and even for different segments of a single flight. The MADCAT (Mission Adaptive Digital Composites Aerostructures Technology) team at NASA's Ames Research Center is using emerging composite material manufacturing methods to build and demonstrate an ultra-light wing that actively changes shape. Constructed of lightweight lattice structures made of carbon fiber materials, the goal is to reduce drag, leading to more efficient airplanes.