Modelling & implementation of Aerodynamic Zero-lift Drag into ADAPDT

University essay from Mälardalens högskola/Akademin för innovation, design och teknik


The objective of this thesis work was to construct and implement an algorithm into the programADAPDT to calculate the zero-lift drag profile for defined aircraft geometries. ADAPDT, shortfor AeroDynamic Analysis and Preliminary Design Tool, is a program that calculates forces andmoments about a flat plate geometry based on potential flow theory. Zero-lift drag will becalculated by means of different hand-book methods found suitable for the objective andapplicable to the geometry definition that ADAPDT utilizes.

Drag has two main sources of origin: friction and pressure distribution, all drag acting on theaircraft can be traced back to one of these two physical phenomena. In aviation drag is dividedinto induced drag that depends on the lift produced and zero-lift drag that depends on the geometry of the aircraft.

How reliable and accurate the zero-lift drag computations are depends on the geometry data thatcan be extracted and used. ADAPDT‟s geometry definition is limited to flat plate geometrieshowever although simple it has the potential to provide a huge amount of data and also delivergood results for the intended use. The flat plate representation of the geometry proved to beleast sufficient for the body while wing elements could be described with much more accuracy.

Different empirical hand-book methods were used to create the zero-lift drag algorithm. Whenchoosing equations and formulas, great care had to be taken as to what input was required sothat ADAPDT could provide the corresponding output. At the same time the equations shouldnot be so basic that level of accuracy would be compromised beyond what should be expectedfrom the intended use.

Finally, four well known aircraft configurations, with available zero-lift drag data, weremodeled with ADAPDT‟s flat plate geometry in order to validate, verify and evaluate the zeroliftdrag algorithm‟s magnitude of reliability. The results for conventional aircraft geometriesprovided a relative error within 0-15 % of the reference data given in the speed range of zero toMach 1.2. While for an aircraft with more complicated body geometry the error could go up to40 % in the same speed regime. But even though the limited geometry is grounds foruncertainties the final product provides ADAPDT with very good zero-lift drag estimationcapability earlier not available. A capability that overtime as ADAPDT continues to evolve hasthe potential to further develop in terms of improved accuracy.

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