Flexible Wings on the Boeing 787 Act like Shock Absorbers

Posted on September 9, 2016 James Hinds aerospace news

What does it mean for flexible wings to act like shock absorbers, when a plane is in flight it goes through irregular shaking due to a brief and strong rushes of wind. These wind rushes can cause an airplane to go through some rough vibrational shakes. Having flexible aircraft wings however can reduce these shakes tremendously because what will happen is that the wing will suck most of the shock due to the wing’s flexibility. The flexibility of the wing can cause a negative effect on the performance of the plane but a very minimum effect.

The flexibility of a wing is determined by different factors such as the length of the wing from one end to end. The curve of the wing determines how much displacement the wing’s tip can go through along with how high the tip is relative to the base. Also the material the wing is made of can determine how much tension the wing can handle. For example, a carbon fiber material can be more flexible than aluminum or other metal materials. In a Boeing 787 aircraft engineers will take this material into consideration and will use a new and strong fiber material that can withstand the stress a wing can take from bending.

The biggest concern that engineers have is that how much material is being used to withstand enough stress and allow the wing to be flexible enough to withstand wind turbulence and strong rushes of wind. If the material is too heavy then it can cause less efficiency in the way the aircraft functions, but if the material is light then the flexibility of the wings will not be of any good because then it can’t withstand the wind rushes.

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