Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Dr. Thong Dang
Dr. Mark Glauser
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Engineering and Computer Science
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Sciences and Engineering
Aerospace Engineering | Propulsion and Power
Researchers have considered the concept of a simple, compact aircraft for personal use for many years. To date, no effort has led to the development of a practical and affordable vehicle. The Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Lab atSyracuseUniversity, however, has been researching a distributed propulsion technique, called propulsive airfoil technology, that has significant promise to meet the requirements for personal ownership of a small, hybrid road and air vehicle.
The propulsive airfoil concept is rooted in HVAC technology, utilizing a cross-flow fan (CFF) embedded into the trailing edge of a thick airfoil section, drawing in air from the top surface of the airfoil. The accelerated flow is ingested into the CFF, and the energized flow is then expelled through an adjustable nozzle at the rear of the airfoil. Research to date has been primarily based on CFD simulations of the two-dimensional cross-section. The simulations have shown that the CFF has two functions. First, the CFF acts as a flow control device, delaying flow separation on the suction surface. This is possible because the fan draws air over the top surface alleviating the adverse pressure gradient. Using nozzles, the outflow can be vectored to provide thrust for the aircraft, which is the second primary function of the propulsive airfoil.
This thesis documents the design and implementation of the propulsive airfoil technology into a functional, remotely controlled prototype aircraft. The prototype design project was initiated in conjunction with the development of a wind tunnel experiment to confirm the simulation data and to demonstrate the advantages of utilizing this type of distributed propulsion system.
Studying the flight mechanics of this type of aircraft showed that incorporating this technology was feasible, based on the results of CFD simulations. Success in upcoming flight tests of the prototype aircraft will demonstrate the credibility of the concept and support the feasibility of personal ownership of small aircraft using propulsive airfoil technology.
Pepe, Richard L., "Design of a Prototype Model Aircraft Utilizing Propulsive Airfoil Technology" (2005). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 670.
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