Enhancing the aerodynamic performance of stepped airfoils

Enhancing the aerodynamic performance of stepped airfoils

Numerical and Experimental Study

LAP Lambert Academic Publishing ( 2012-10-26 )

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The objective of this research was to investigate the lift and drag characteristics of a stepped airfoil with backward facing steps; apply active flow control technique to enhance the aerodynamic performance of stepped airfoils and examine the possibility of using such airfoils on UAVs. A step was introduced at mid-chord, with a depth of 50% of the airfoil thickness at mid-chord position extending till the trailing edge of a NACA 4415 airfoil. Computational studies were conducted with the use of passive flow control constituting the activation of step and active flow control with the use of air injecting jets placed in the step cavity of the NACA 4415 airfoil with a goal of enhancing the aerodynamic performance. The jet angle and jet momentum coefficient were varied independently to identify the best setting for optimizing the aerodynamic performance of the stepped airfoil. Experimental studies of a scaled wing model with the same airfoil were conducted in a wind tunnel for a range of Reynolds numbers to validate some of the numerical results obtained for the cases of base and stepped airfoils. The results produced show that as much as 12 % increase in L/D ratio could be obtained.

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By (author) :

Ranganadhan Voona

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Air and space technology