Aerodynamic Modeling of Leading-Edge Slat Morphing in Low Reynolds Number Flow



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Atmospheric flight is becoming more prevalent and congested from the use of drones for delivery of goods to the increased accessibility of international travel in jumbo jets. Current methods of flight control consist of discrete flaps and slats that decrease flight efficiency and consequently consume more energy and fuel than in their non-deployed state. Wing morphing allows for a non-abrupt motion and smooth contours of the control surface that proves to be a solution to this dilemma. This thesis examines two novel morphing techniques in the leading-edge of a NACA0012 airfoil compared to a conventional slat deployment. Both the second order (quadratic) and third order (cubic) morphing proved to have better aerodynamic performance than the conventional rigid slat between angles of attack (AOA) of 0-14 degrees. Their smooth shape outline that connected to the rest of the airfoil maintained the flow separation point at a later distance than their discrete counterpart. However, between the two types of morphing, each excelled at different regimes of AOAs. In addition, this thesis also laid the framework for future analysis in the unsteady motion of these control surfaces, as it proved that the distance at which the far-field boundaries are located from the airfoil play an important role in the accuracy of the results. In addition, the constants used in the quadratic and cubic deformations greatly determine the time-step size by which the unsteady motion of the slats is analyzed. In essence, wing morphing is a promising mechanism that may improve flight characteristics and enhance aerodynamic efficiency, if simulated correctly.



Wing morphing, Leading-edge slat, Trailing-edge flap, Computational fluid dynamics, Angle of attack, Deflection angle, Low reynolds number flow, Aerospace engineering