BEIJING — Chinese scientists are designing a morphing aircraft that takes its inspiration from bees, according to the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT).
The morphing airplane is expected to reduce resistance during flight and be more fuel-efficient, CALT said on its official website.
According to the designer Hu Guotun, morphing aerospace aircraft travel through the atmosphere to space before returning to the atmosphere. In the process of re-entry, the aircraft will use its own inertial glide for a period of time. Minimizing flight resistance is vital for saving fuel.
“We have drawn inspiration from the bee’s abdomen structure, which allows the bee to flex freely and control the direction of flight,” said Hu.
Based on the bee’s flexible abdomen structure, CALT designed a morphing nose cone for the aircraft, which changes in different stages of flight.
Through simulation, they found that the morphing nose cone can reduce aerodynamic drag by more than 20 percent.
“The morphing structure provides an efficient way for aerospace vehicles to reduce aerodynamic drag and save fuel, which is of great importance to the commercial aerospace market,” Hu said.