Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair(s)

Douglas F. Hunsaker


Douglas F. Hunsaker


Stephen A. Whitmore


Thomas H. Fronk


The flaps on an airplane wing are used to control the aircraft during flight. These flaps traditionally have at most three articulation or hinge points. Recent studies have shown improved flap efficiency using a conformal flap, which deforms following a curved shape. Much of aircraft improvement comes through increasing its efficiency during flight. This efficiency is generally improved by decreasing the drag force on the aircraft. A potential solution to decrease drag is to remove additional lifting surfaces, such as the horizontal and vertical stabilizer ubiquitous on general aviation aircraft. These additional lifting surfaces are used to trim and control the aircraft during flight. A flying-wing aircraft, which has no additional lifting surfaces, is trimmed and controlled using multiple flaps along the main wing. 3D-printing the mechanisms used to control these flaps has significant advantages. 3D-printing is fast, cheap, easy to repeat, easy to replicate, and produces durable parts. Two morphing mechanisms manufactured using 3D-printing are presented as viable solutions to demonstrate yaw control on a flying-wing aircraft. The Airfoil Recambering Compliant System (ARCS) is presented as a solution for a wing using a single flap with multiple actuators. The Kinetic Internal Nexus Compliant System (KINCS) is presented as a solution for a wing using multiple flaps, each with a single actuator. The final KINCS design used for a prototype flying-wing aircraft is presented.