NASA wind tunnel tests of the SMART Rotor
piezoelectric actuators can change and adapt the rotor blade while in motion.
Can you imagine a world full of large, relatively quiet rotorcraft making short hops between cities such as New York and Washington, carrying as many as 100 passengers at a time in comfort and safety? This, amongst other technological improvements, would require helicopters with greatly improved rotor blade efficiency, allowing them to travel much quieter, smoother and further with the same amount of fuel. NASA is currently conducting research in their wind tunnels on the SMART rotor hub, which has rotor blades made with shape-changing materials that could one day make this scenario a reality.
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