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Design and optimisation of an aerofoil with active continuous trailing-edge flap

  • Jinwei Shen (a1), Yi Liu (a1), Robert P. Thornburgh (a2), Andrew R. Kreshock (a2) and Matthew L. Wilbur (a2)...

Abstract

This paper presents the design and optimisation of an aerofoil with active continuous trailing-edge flap (CTEF) investigated as a potential rotorcraft active control device. Several structural cross-section models are developed: high-fidelity NASA STRucture ANalysis (NASTRAN) and University of Michigan/Variational Asymptotic Beam Section Code (UM/VABS) models and a reduced-order analysis model. The validation of the reduced-order model is established by comparing its predictions of CTEF deformations with those of NASTRAN and UM/VABS analyses, which both show good agreement. The 2D aerodynamic characteristics of the CTEF aerofoil are evaluated using XFOIL and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analyses: FUN3D and Overset Transonic Unsteady Rotor Navier-Stokes (OVERTURNS). XFOIL, coupled with the reduced-order structure model, is adopted for optimisation study. The accuracy of XFOIL in predicting the aerodynamic pressure of the CTEF aerofoil is verified using CFD simulations, which shows sufficient fidelity. The predicted variations of aerodynamic coefficients with a CTEF angle are compared among the aerodynamic analyses. The optimisation process is developed and applied to two bimorph bender configurations: a Macro-Fibre Composite (MFC) solid bender and an MFC stack bender. The solid bender is used to confirm the functioning of the optimisation procedure and to use its optimal layout as a reference to the stack design, the primary design object. A linear tapered shape is found to be the optimum for a MFC solid bender, which generates an average of 63% more CTEF angles than those of an optimal rectangular bender. An optimised MFC stack bender is shown to resemble the shape of the solid bender. A four-ply bimorph is considered the best choice among the stack layouts because of its large output of CTEF angles and relatively less plies required. The CTEF angle produced by the four-ply optimal layout ranges from 7.6° to 5.3° with speeds from 0 to 200m/s at an angle of attack (AoA) of 6°. The reduction in the CTEF angle with AoA is less steep than that with speed, ranging from 6.5° to 5.8° with AoA from 0 to 8° at speed of 166m/s. An average of 14% increase in CTEF angles is achieved through optimisation for the four-ply bimorph.

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