CFD Methods for Predicting Aircraft Scaling Effects

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH

Abstract: This thesis deals with the problems of scaling aerodynamic data from wind tunnel to free flight  conditions. The main challenges when this scaling should be performed is how the model support, wall interference and the potentially lower Reynolds number in the windtunnel should be corrected. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations have been performed on a modern transonic transport aircraft in order to reveal Reynolds number effects and how these should be scaled accurately. A methodology for scaling drag and identifying scaling effects in general is presented.  This investigation also examines how the European Transonic Wind tunnel twin sting model support influences the flow over the aircraft. When the Reynolds number is differing between the wind tunnel and free flight conditions, a change in boundary layer transition position can occur. In order to estimate first order boundary layer transition effects a correlation based transition prediction method, previously presented by Menter and Langtry, is implemented in the CFD solver Edge. The transition model is further developed and a novel set of equations for the production terms is found through a CFD/optimizer coupling. The transition data, used to calibrate the CFD transition model,  have been extracted from a low Mach number wind tunnel campaign. At these low Mach numbers many compressible CFD solvers suffer of poor convergence rates and a deficiency in robustness and accuracy might appear. The low Mach number effects are investigated, and an effort to prevent these is done by implementing different preconditioning techniques in the compressible CFD solver Edge. The preconditioners are mainly based on the general Turkel preconditioner, but a novel formulation is also presented in order to make the numerical technique less problem dependent.

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