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Experimental and numerical study on heatwave effect over an airfoil for unmanned aerial vehicle applications

Somashekar V. (School of Mechanical Engineering, Vellore Institute of Technology, Vellore, India)
Immanuel Selwynraj A. (School of Mechanical Engineering, Vellore Institute of Technology, Vellore, India)

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology

ISSN: 0002-2667

Article publication date: 1 June 2022

Issue publication date: 2 January 2023

58

Abstract

Purpose

The heatwave effects over an airfoil have a greater influence in the aerodynamic efficiency. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of heatwave upon the low Reynolds number airfoil aerodynamic performance.

Design/methodology/approach

In this research, the heatwave effects on micro-aerial vehicles’ wing operation are also demonstrated both numerically and experimentally, at the Chord-based Reynolds number Rec = 2 × 105, and under the influence of various environmental temperatures, i.e. 27ºC (room temperature), 40ºC and 50ºC for various flying conditions. A numerical investigation of the low Reynolds number flows with the thermal effect around the unmanned aerial vehicle is presented using the k–ɛ turbulent model. Besides that, the low Reynolds number-based wind tunnel experimental setup is developed to determine the effects of a heatwave over an airfoil. Then, the numerical simulations and wind tunnel experiments are conducted.

Findings

The numerical and wind tunnel’s experimental investigations have been performed on a 2D airfoil under a heatwave environment, i.e. 27ºC, 40ºC and 50ºC for different flight conditions. The numerical and experimental results revealed that the heatwave effect and aerodynamic performance are validated with experimental results. The lift and drag coefficients for both numerical and experimental results show very good correlation at Reynolds number 2 × 105.

Practical implications

The consequences of the increasing temperatures to varying degrees will also be experienced by all commercial aircraft. That is why some great findings are presented here, which are highly relevant for the current and future airline operations. However, sooner than later, the aviation industry should also begin to consider the rising effects of temperature on aircraft operations to develop the loss-reducing adaptable plans.

Originality/value

From the numerical and wind tunnel experimental results, the recorded maximum lift coefficients are observed to be 2.42, 2.39 and 2.36 for 27ºC (room temperature), 40ºC and 50ºC, respectively, at 16° angle of attack, numerically. Similarly, the recorded maximum lift coefficients are observed to be 2.410, 2.382 and 2.354 for 27ºC (room temperature), 40ºC and 50ºC, respectively, at 16° angle of attack, experimentally. The heatwave effects over an airfoil have a greater influence in the aerodynamic efficiency.

Keywords

Citation

V., S. and A., I.S. (2023), "Experimental and numerical study on heatwave effect over an airfoil for unmanned aerial vehicle applications", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 95 No. 1, pp. 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1108/AEAT-12-2021-0388

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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