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Research project: Impact of Aerodynamic and Structural Nonlinearities on Gust Loads Prediction

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The typical analysis method for worst case gust loads is linear. Structural nonlinearities, e.g. from geometrically nonlinear deformations, and aerodynamic nonlinearities, e.g. from shocks and separation, can be significant in relevant flight regimes. Numerical methods are now becoming available to allow their influence to be assessed. This project will use these methods to systematically investigate the influence of nonlinearity. The test cases range from a typical aerofoil section up to realistically sized aircraft models.

Surface pressure coefficient distribution around a UAV configuration at high subsonic  speed
Surface pressure coefficient

The objective is to provide a robust and efficient numerical framework for the aero-servo-elastic assessment of highly flexible aircraft which can be adopted to design next-generation aircraft.  This would allow to bridge the gap between present capabilities and those required to develop future aircraft concepts.

The numerical framework is developed as an open-source code, and expressions of interest for discussions and collaborations are welcome.

Related research groups

Aerodynamics and Flight Mechanic (AFM)
Structural deformations mapped to the aerodynamic surface of a UAV configuration
Structural deformations
Helios in flight

Key Publications

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