Development of flexible matrix composites (FMC) for fluidic actuators in morphing systems

Johannes Kirn, Thomas Lorkowski, Horst Baier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Purpose - This paper seeks to focus on material combinations for flexible matrix composites (FMCs) and the production methods thereof. These materials enable a high flexibility in one direction while being very stiff in the other. Design/methodology/approach - Tested were rubber, silicone and thermoplastic elastomer matrices with carbon fibers using different production methods. These tests focused on the impregnation of the fibers with the different matrices and the orthotropy of the produced materials. Findings - In the paper, a production capability for large quantities of easy to use off-the-shelf material was developed. The produced material handles similar to prepreg material known from "classical" composite materials. Test specimens were manufactured and characterized for mechanical properties using tensile tests. Originality/value - These FMC materials are envisaged for a new pneumatic actuation system for an aircraft's droop nose to replace the electro-mechanical system designed in the SADE and SmartLED projects. Combining a tube-like geometry and a variable fiber-angle lay-up enables a wide range of deformation possibilities (large design freedom of movement behaviour).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)458-473
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Structural Integrity
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2011


  • Carbon fibers
  • Composite materials
  • Elastomers
  • Flexible composites
  • Mechanical properties of materials
  • Morphing structures
  • Pneumatic actuation
  • Thermoplastic elastomer (TPE)


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