Plane Image

Having a home near a busy airport means tolerating the jarring sounds of commercial airplanes during landing and takeoff. Researchers at Texas A&M University validated use of a shape-memory alloy to reduce the unpleasant plane noise produced during landing. The materials could be inserted as passive, seamless fillers within airplane wings that automatically deploy themselves into the perfect position during descent.

When airplanes slow down to land, the engines do not need to generate power and are mostly idling. The wings begin to reconfigure themselves to slow down the airplane and prepare for touchdown. Similar to opening Venetian blinds, the front edge of the wing separates from the main body. This change causes air to rush into the space created, circle around quite violently, and produce noise.

Fillers used as a membrane in the shape of an elongated “S” within this space could circumvent the noise-causing air circulation and thereby lessen the jarring sound.