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Polygence Scholar2023
Cheney Wu's profile

Cheney Wu

Class of 2025Detroit, Michigan


Hello! My name is Cheney and my Polygence project is on designing a new and effective airplane wing that would change its shape throughout flight according to outside factors (such as turbulence, load, and/or during different phases of flight). I chose to work on this project because I've liked airplanes ever since I was little and designing something related to it would be an awesome accomplishment, at the same time the process of designing would be good practice for what I want to do in university. After my project is complete, I would like to continue working on these small projects that come to mind by using the skills I've learned from this one.


  • "How can we create an optimum design that would improve the process of creating tensegrity adaptive airfoils?" with mentor Nate (Working project)
  • "Exploration of Tensegrity Applications in Airfoil Designs" with mentor Nate (July 26, 2023)

Project Portfolio

How can we create an optimum design that would improve the process of creating tensegrity adaptive airfoils?

Started Dec. 12, 2023

Abstract or project description

For any tensegrity designs, we need to develop tensegrity structures, select the number of tensegrity cells, and decide the node placement at critical points for both airfoils curvatures and the tensegrity function(s). Then, we need to evaluate the pros and cons of each design before an optimized design is achieved. This project plans to develop an effective tool that will automatically generate node placement and tensegrity matrices for a given design concept so that further tensegrity modeling calculations. This project will explore two tensegrity design concepts for airfoils. The first design possibility is to include two D-bar structures off to the side of each airfoil, with intermediary T-bar designs incorporated into the middle of the two D-bar structures. The second design option is to add repetitive T-bar structures throughout the airfoil instead of replacing the outer curvature, strengthening the outer curvature by tenting them outward at critical points along the airfoil.

Project Portfolio

Exploration of Tensegrity Applications in Airfoil Designs

Started Sept. 21, 2022

Abstract or project description

In recent years, the aerospace industry has seen significant advancements in developing composite materials that offer a range of benefits. This paper proposes using tensegrity structures as a favorable supplement to further enhance aircraft design. Comprising a series of compression and tension members that are adaptive by nature, tensegrity structures can adjust the tension forces between the said elements to a desired configuration. Owing to the weight reduction they offer, tensegrity structures are an effective alternative over classic configurations of current systems on aerial vehicles. The paper examines several digital methods of plotting tensegrity structures in various NACA (National Advisory Committee of Aeronautics) recognized airfoils through Python programming. Following initial design concepts, more refined approaches are explored through digital modeling to better understand the advantages of using different tensegrity structures and how they can be combined to achieve maximum efficacy. Through discussing various digital plotting methods, an automated approach is discovered that provides the freedom to achieve any desired tensegrity design. By acquiring these models, many possibilities are opened for simulations in the future of the preliminary designs proposed in this paper.