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Proceedings Paper

A three dimensional unsteady iterative panel method with vortex particle wakes and boundary layer model for bio-inspired multi-body wings
Author(s): Akash Dhruv; Christopher Blower; Adam M. Wickenheiser
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Paper Abstract

The ability of UAVs to operate in complex and hostile environments makes them useful in military and civil operations concerning surveillance and reconnaissance. However, limitations in size of UAVs and communication delays prohibit their operation close to the ground and in cluttered environments, which increase risks associated with turbulence and wind gusts that cause trajectory deviations and potential loss of the vehicle. In the last decade, scientists and engineers have turned towards bio-inspiration to solve these issues by developing innovative flow control methods that offer better stability, controllability, and maneuverability. This paper presents an aerodynamic load solver for bio-inspired wings that consist of an array of feather-like flaps installed across the upper and lower surfaces in both the chord- and span-wise directions, mimicking the feathers of an avian wing. Each flap has the ability to rotate into both the wing body and the inbound airflow, generating complex flap configurations unobtainable by traditional wings that offer improved aerodynamic stability against gusting flows and turbulence. The solver discussed is an unsteady three-dimensional iterative doublet panel method with vortex particle wakes. This panel method models the wake-body interactions between multiple flaps effectively without the need to define specific wake geometries, thereby eliminating the need to manually model the wake for each configuration. To incorporate viscous flow characteristics, an iterative boundary layer theory is employed, modeling laminar, transitional and turbulent regions over the wing’s surfaces, in addition to flow separation and reattachment locations. This technique enables the boundary layer to influence the wake strength and geometry both within the wing and aft of the trailing edge. The results obtained from this solver are validated using experimental data from a low-speed suction wind tunnel operating at Reynolds Number 300,000. This method enables fast and accurate assessment of aerodynamic loads for initial design of complex wing configurations compared to other methods available.

Paper Details

Date Published: 26 March 2015
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 9429, Bioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication 2015, 94290M (26 March 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2084301
Show Author Affiliations
Akash Dhruv, The George Washington Univ. (United States)
Christopher Blower, The George Washington Univ. (United States)
Adam M. Wickenheiser, The George Washington Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9429:
Bioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication 2015
Akhlesh Lakhtakia; Mato Knez; Raúl J. Martín-Palma, Editor(s)

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