Real Time Drag Minimization

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH

Abstract: This thesis focuses on the use of multiple redundant control surfaces to increase performance during flight. There is no clear-cut definition of performance. It may differ between applications, but here, the amount of drag for a given flight condition is used. The work is concentrated on minimizing drag with the use of measurements instead of numerical simulations. Measured data contains noise and there are problems with repeatability and hysteresis. These difficulties are considered and a method for drag minimization during flight is presented.In the first study the drag minimization algorithm is discussed. Focus is put on describing the implemented method and the treatment of constraints to the optimization problem. The constraints include keeping the lift constant as well as having bounds on the control surface deflections.In the second work, a more complex wind tunnel model is used to validate the drag optimization algorithm. Drag reduction for different flight conditions is studied, as well as the impact of the number of control surfaces. Different layouts of the control surfaces are also tested. The results show that the constraints are satisfied and that the drag is reduced substantially.