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Surface folding for flexible bodies

Question asked by Maxx Lucas on Jul 15, 2016

Consider a wingbox of elliptical planform with upper and lower skins and longitudinal ribs attached to both of those surfaces. My goal is to fold the ribs in such a way that the compound curvature goes away and the entire assembly is in (nearly) a plane. In this case, exploding the assembly and flattening individual surfaces is not desirable. I want to fold the ribs along some axis with nearly zero radius of curvature, because they are a textile material and flatten in practice. I have spent a great deal of time working with surface flatten and the sheetmetal toolbox and not getting the result I have in mind. That result may not be achievable with Solidworks, but if it is I am out of ideas as to how to obtain it and I would like to hear any suggestions from those of you with any similar circumstances.