The effect of corrugated skins on aerodynamic performance

Yuying Xia, Onur Bilgen, Michael I. Friswell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


Corrugated skins provide a good solution to morphing wings due to their highly anisotropic behavior. If the low stiffness corrugation plane is aligned in the chordwise direction, the airfoil shape change is possible. In contrast to the traditional smooth skin of an airfoil, a corrugated skin influences both the local and global aerodynamics of a wing. The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of a corrugated skin on the global aerodynamics of an airfoil, particularly lift and drag characteristics. First, the aerodynamic analysis of a NACA 0012 airfoil with a smooth profile is conducted, both in the wind tunnel and by computational fluid dynamics, at different Reynolds numbers and compared to the data in the literature. The lift and drag coefficients at different angles of attack, between -10° and 10°, are considered. Next, two NACA 0012 airfoils with different sized corrugated profiles are investigated both experimentally and by numerical simulation. The effects of corrugation size and Reynolds number are analyzed and quantified relatively to the standard NACA0012 airfoil with a smooth skin. Preliminary numerical results are validated using the experimental data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)786-794
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - May 2014
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanical Engineering


  • Morphing
  • bio-inspired
  • corrugated skin

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