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Supercomputing Challenge

Optimized Flight Efficiency with FEM Analysis

Team: 93


Area of Science: Aerospace

With the massive growth of air transport in the past century, it has become ever more important to establish effective methods of drag reduction and energy conservation into new aircraft. This project will seek to identify a novel and efficient method to accommodate these needs through the application of the Kutta condition describing airflow about a body and implement a test mechanism for this method in wind tunnel conditions for verification. Using Elmer, a finite element solver, a model will be computationally simulated in controlled airflow to determine drag levels against a control figure representing a solitary rectangular wing. The simulation will then seek to optimize this model independently of the programmer and return the top design found.
The optimized design will be obtained by expanding on two-dimensional studies of forces experienced under the Kutta condition to three-dimensional methods and applying these methods across a wingtip. Integration across this airfoil should then provide finite values for the net forces acting parallel to the wing and correspondingly offer insight into the production of wingtip vortices. Upon reaching success at this stage, the data will be exported to CAD software for implementation and demonstration in a modified Baal’s wind tunnel.
Expansion of methods developed to verify the Kutta condition in two dimensions will be used to establish the magnitude of forces acting on the airfoil to in turn estimate induced drag. The data will then be stored for comparison against an alternative wing layout to determine the design of yet a third wing that incorporates the information of the previous two to effect a reduction in induced drag. The process will repeat itself using the most recent pair of wing designs to establish successively improved conditions. When this process yields designs that present equal and unchanging results over several iterations, the program will execute a motion to place the final wing in a CAD program for final development to implant a test model in a wind tunnel.

Ringuette, Matthew James. Vortex Formation and Drag on Low Aspect Ratio Normal Flat Plates. For Doctorate of Philosophy. California Institute of Technology, 2004.
Anbarci, K., O, Cetiner, and F.O. Edis “Airfoil Lift Prediction via Velocity Field Measurements.” AIAC-2005-072, 2005.
Joseph, D.D., D. Ocando, and P.Y. Huang. “Angular Slip Velocity and Lift,” 2006.
Leeuwen, J.M.J. van. “The Kutta-Jukowski Lift Formula and Some Hydrodynamical Wisdom,” For Instituut-Lorentz, University of Leiden, Feb. 21, 2005.

Team Members:

  Garrett Lewis

Sponsoring Teacher: Neil McBeth

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