"Panel Methods: Relevant in the 21st Century?" by Dr. Vivek Ahuja
9/25 4PM, 256 CB
The emergence of the Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP) and the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) application has added a new paradigm to the aircraft design problem. DEP designs augment flow using a large number of electric-motor driven propellers for high lift in cruise conditions. Similarly, distributed propulsion is also a common theme in the emerging V/STOL UAM concepts in industry, where highly unconventional design configurations use larger numbers of propeller/rotor-based propulsors, often in conjunction with fixed or tilting wings. Aerodynamics, propulsion, control-effector authority, gust/turbulence rejection or load alleviation and occupant ride quality must be addressed in greater detail much earlier in the design process for these emerging concepts.
Traditional Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) methods are often too heavy to be used in conceptual design. Simpler methods like lifting-line and vortex lattice methods are too simple to accomplish the task. Panel methods have traditionally aimed to strike the perfect balance between these two ends of the spectrum. Do they benefit from both the computational speed of low-order tools and the physics fidelity required of high-order tools? Or is the fidelity of panel methods lower than required and yet are slower than the low-order tools? We explore these ideas in this seminar in the context of the work accomplished by Dr. Vivek Ahuja and the team at Research in Flight as part of their ongoing NASA and USAF tool-development activities.