Date of Graduation
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Wade W Huebsch
John M Kuhlman
The desire and demand to fly farther and faster has progressively integrated the concept of optimization with airfoil design, resulting in increasingly complex numerical tools pursuing efficiency often at diminishing returns; while the costs and difficulty associated with fabrication increases with design complexity. Such efficiencies may often be necessary due to the power density limitations of certain aircraft such as small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and micro air vehicles (MAVs).;This research, however, focuses on reducing the complexity of airfoils for applications where aerodynamic performance is less important than the efficiency of manufacturing; in this case a Hybrid Projectile. By employing faceted sections to approximate traditional contoured wing sections it may be possible to expedite manufacturing and reduce costs.;We applied this method to the development of a low Reynolds number, disposable Hybrid Projectile requiring a 4.5:1 glide ratio, resulting in a series of airfoils which are geometric approximations to highly contoured cross-sections called ShopFoils. This series of airfoils both numerically and experimentally perform within a 10% margin of the SD6060 airfoil at low Re.;Additionally, flow visualization has been conducted to qualitatively determine what mechanisms, if any, are responsible for the similarity in performance between the faceted ShopFoil sections and the SD6060. The data obtained by these experiments did not conclusively reveal how the faceted surfaces may influence low Re flow but did indicate that the ShopFoil s did not maintain flow attachment at higher angles of attack than the SD6060. Two reasons are provided for the unexpected performance of the ShopFoil: one is related to downwash effects, which are suspected of placing the outer portion of the span at an effective angle of attack where the ShopFoils outperform the SD6060; the other is the influence of the tip vortex on separation near the wing tips, which possibly provides a 'comparative advantage' to the ShopFoil because it has more to gain from a reduction in its pressure drag component.
Napolillo, Zachary G., "Aerodynamics Investigation of Faceted Airfoils at Low Reynolds Number" (2013). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 4985.