On an Efficient Method fo Time-Domain Computational Aeroelasticity

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH

Abstract: The present thesis summarizes work on developing a method for unsteady aerodynamic analysis primarily for aeroelastic simulations. In contrast to widely used prediction tools based on frequency-domain representations, the current approach aims to provide a time-domain simulation capability which can be readily integrated with possibly nonlinear structural and control system models. Further, due to the potential flow model underlying the computational method, and the solution algorithm based on an efficient boundary element formulation, the computational effort for the solution is moderate, allowing time-dependent simulations of complex configurations. The computational method is applied to simulate a number of wind-tunnel experiments involving highly flexible models. Two of the experiments are utilized to verify the method and to ascertain the validity of the unsteady flow model. In the third study, simulations are used for the numerical optimization of a configuration with multiple control surfaces. Here, the flexibility of the model is exploited in order to achieve a reduction of induced drag. Comparison with experimental results shows that the numerical method attains adequate accuracy within the inherent limits of the potential flow model. Finally, rather extensive aeroelastic simulations are performed for the ASK 21 sailplane. Time-domain simulations of a pull-up maneuver and comparisons with flight test data demonstrate that, considering modeling and computational effort, excellent agreement is obtained. Furthermore, a flutter analysis is performed for the same aircraft using identified frequency-domain loads. Results are found to deviate only slightly from critical speed and frequency obtained using an industry-standard aeroelastic analysis code. Nevertheless, erratic results for control surface hinge moments indicate that the accuracy of the present method would benefit from improved control surface modeling and coupled boundary layer analysis.