Gust response of an elasto-flexible morphing wing using fluid–structure interaction simulations

Jonathan PFLÜGER, Christian BREITSAMTER

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Small and micro unmanned aircraft are the focus of scientific interest due to their wide range of applications. They often operate in a highly unstable flight environment where the application of new morphing wing technologies offers the opportunity to improve flight characteristics. The investigated concept comprises port and starboard adjustable wings, and an adaptive elasto-flexible membrane serves as the lifting surface. The focus is on the benefits of the deforming membrane during the impact of a one-minus-cosine type gust. At a low Reynolds number of Re = 264000, the morphing wing model is investigated numerically by unsteady fluid–structure interaction simulations. First, the numerical results are validated by experimental data from force and moment, flow field, and deformation measurements. Second, with the rigid wing as the baseline, the flexible case is investigated, focusing on the advantages of the elastic membrane. For all configurations studied, the maximum amplitude of the lift coefficient under gust load shows good agreement between the experimental and numerical results. During the decay of the gust, they differ more the higher the aspect ratio of the wing. When considering the flow field, the main differences are due to the separation behavior on the upper side of the wing. The flow reattaches earlier in the experiments than in the simulations, which explains the higher lift values observed in the former. Only at one intermediate configuration does the lift amplitude of the rigid configuration exceeds that of the flexible by about 12%, with the elastic membrane resulting in a smaller and more uniform peak load, which is also evident in the wing loading and hence in the root bending moment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-57
Number of pages13
JournalChinese Journal of Aeronautics
Volume37
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2024

Keywords

  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Flexible wing surface
  • Fluid-structure interaction
  • Gust response
  • Membrane wing
  • Morphing wing
  • Unsteady inflow condition

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