A Design and Analysis Approach for Drag Reduction on Aircraft with Adaptive Lifting Surfaces

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Title: A Design and Analysis Approach for Drag Reduction on Aircraft with Adaptive Lifting Surfaces
Author: Cusher, Aaron Anthony
Advisors: Ashok Gopalarathnam, Committee Chair
Jack Edwards, Committee Member
Robert Nagel, Committee Member
Jeff Joines, Committee Member
Abstract: Adaptive lifting surfaces, which can be tailored for different flight conditions, have been shown to be beneficial for drag reduction when compared with conventional non-adaptive surfaces. Applying multiple trailing-edge flaps along the wing span allows for the redistribution of lift to suit different flight conditions. The current approach uses the trailing-edge flap distribution to reduce both induced- and profile- components of drag with a trim constraint. Induced drag is reduced by optimally redistributing the lift between the lifting surfaces and along the span of each surface. Profile drag is reduced through the use of natural laminar flow airfoils, which maintain distinct low-drag-ranges (drag buckets) surrounding design lift values. The low-drag-ranges can be extended to include off-design values through small flap deflections, similar to cruise flaps. Trim is constrained for a given static margin by considering longitudinal pitching moment contributions from changes in airfoil section due to individual flap deflections, and from the redistribution of fore-and-aft lift due to combination of flap deflections. The approach uses the concept of basic and additional lift to linearlize the problem, which allows for standard constrained-minimization theory to be employed for determining optimal flap-angle solutions. The resulting expressions for optimal flap-angle solutions are presented as simple matrix equations. This work presents a design and analysis approach which is used to produce flap-angle solutions that independently reduce induced, profile, and total drag. Total drag is defined to be the sum of the induced- and profile-components of drag. The general drag reduction approach is adapted for each specific situation to develop specific drag reduction schemes that are applied to single- and multiple-surface configurations. Successful results show that, for the application of the induced drag reduction schemes on a tailless aircraft, near-elliptical lift distributions are produced which match the classical result for minimum induced drag. Application of the profile drag reduction schemes produce solutions which force the wing to operate in the low-drag-ranges of the natural-laminar-flow airfoil sections, thereby lowering profile drag. The total drag reduction schemes use a curve-fit routine that generates airfoil drag polars given flap angle and Reynolds number. The approximated drag polars allow the prediction of profile drag values to be combined with induced drag values to form a total drag function, which is utilized with a constrained nonlinear optimizer that determines best flap angles for total drag and trim. The different drag reduction schemes each produce independent flap-angle solutions and lift distributions for a given aircraft configuration and operating condition, and provide valuable insight for aerodynamic design and trade studies. The drag reduction approach is intended to be applicable to arbitrary aircraft configurations, and can be adapted to use surface incidence, twist, and flap angles as optimization variables, thereby creating a powerful and flexible aerodynamic design and analysis tool.
Date: 2008-12-16
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Aerospace Engineering
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/5063

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