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Aerodynamic characteristics of a wrap-around fin rocket

Guo Qing Zhang (Key Laboratory of Dynamics and Control of Flight Vehicle, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing, China AND Department of Aerospace Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Singapore.)
S C.M Yu (Academic Division, Singapore Institute of Technology, Singapore, Singapore.)
J Schlüter (Department of Aerospace Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Singapore.)

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology

ISSN: 0002-2667

Article publication date: 4 January 2016




The purpose of this paper is to investigate the aerodynamics characteristics (especially the side force/moment and rolling characteristics), to analyze the impacts generated by different parameters of wrap-around fins (WAFs) and to find the corresponding mechanism.


The paper has adopted three different types of WAFs for the rocket configurations and the sub-regions divided technology to investigate the lateral and rolling characteristics of WAFs, including the fins with variations in span to chord ratio, thickness, leading-edge sweep, curvature radius, fin numbers, setting angles and rotated angles. Simulations have been performed at Mach numbers from 3 to 4 through an angle-of-attack range of about 0° to 10° and at model rolling angles of 45° to 90°.


The paper shows that the WAF configurations can greatly improve the longitudinal stability and enhance the longitudinal aerodynamic characteristics for the whole rocket. The total drag of the whole rocket is mainly stemmed from the body, while the drag generated by the WAF account for only about 7.42 per cent. The extra side forces and rolling moments are due largely to the unequal pressure distributions on both sides of the fin (windward or leeward). Maintaining a certain negative setting angle (d) can effectively avoid the coning movement and improve the flight stability at high angles of attack. The size of the span and chord are two main factors in controlling the longitudinal characteristics. For the side force/moment and rolling characteristics, different geometric parameters of the WAFs have played different roles.


The paper provides the qualitative and quantitative analysis for different WAFs configurations by investigating the curves of different parameters and contouring of static pressure distributions. Findings can provide some suggestions for the designers for avoiding some significant dynamic problems, such as Magnus instability and roll rate variations during flight.



Zhang, G.Q., Yu, S.C.M. and Schlüter, J. (2016), "Aerodynamic characteristics of a wrap-around fin rocket", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 88 No. 1, pp. 82-96.



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