Validating Aircraft Peformance using Computational Fluid Dynamics

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Le, Joyce O; Berger, David
Aerodynamics and Fluid Mechanics; Aerospace Engineering; Engineering
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The Preliminary Research AerodyNamic Design to Land on Mars (PRANDTL-M) mission is to implement geometric twist in the wing design to produce a spanwise bell-shaped lift distribution and minimize induced drag for flight in the Martian atmosphere. A bell- shaped lift distribution drives the lift to zero at the wingtips, eliminating both the negative effects of wingtip vortices (adverse yaw) and the necessity of vertical stabilizers. To prove this concept and ensure its success, it is important to numerically evaluate the performance of the aircraft in its design stages and validate the results with flight data and other computational methods. Characterizing the performance of the PRANDTL-M aircraft involves conducting a computational fluid dynamics analysis on the airfoil geometry utilizing a two-dimensional method of airfoil analysis and a three-dimensional vortex lattice method. Airfoil coordinates are used as inputs to compute the aerodynamic coefficients. The changing shape of the PRANDTL-M airfoil along the wing requires that an integration method be used in conjunction with the two dimensional method of airfoil analysis in order to yield the total coefficients of lift, drag, and pitching moment. The results from the two and three dimensional analyses will be compared with each other and then validated with the aerodynamic coefficients that are computed from parameter identification test flight data.