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Aircraft Design Automation and Subscale Testing: With Special Reference to Micro Air Vehicles
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Fluid and Mechatronic Systems. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation concerns how design automation as well as rapid prototyping and testing of subscale prototypes can support aircraft design. A framework for design automation has been developed and is applied specifically to Micro Air Vehicles (MAV). MAVs are an interesting area for design automation as they are an application where the entire design, from requirements to manufacturing, can indeed be automated. From a complexity point of view it can be considered to be similar to conceptual design of manned aircraft.

The created design optimization framework interfaces several software systems to generate MAVs to optimally fulfil specific mission requirements. The goal has been to find a method for MAV design and optimization from a holistic viewpoint, i.e. not a method for optimizing single subsystems, such as motor or propeller, but a method that embraces all disciplines of MAV design. Key drivers have been the use of off-the-shelf components wherever possible and to optimize the geometric shape not just from an aerodynamic perspective, but also to consider internal component placement and stability criteria. The optimization technique chosen is a multi-objective genetic algorithm. Finally, a novel method for direct digital manufacturing of MAVs is proposed.

The utility of the framework has been demonstrated with several case studies on MAV design. The propulsion system is identified as most influential on MAV performance and thus is where it is most important to have accurate models. For this reason the models used in the framework are experimentally validated. The influence of atmospheric winds and turbulence on MAV performance is also experimentally investigated

The subscale testing efforts are aimed at reducing cost and increasing the usability of flight testing with subscale vehicles. Data acquisition system design is described and low-cost testing methods are presented, such as car top testing or in-flight flow visualization. Two subscale flight projects are also presented.

Abstract [sv]

Den här avhandlingen handlar om hur konstruktionsprocessen av flygplan kan stödjas dels genom förbättrade analysverktyg, s.k.  konstruktionsautomation, och dels genom metoder för att snabbt och billigt kunna tillverka och testa nedskalade prototyper.

Konstruktion av flygplan är ett komplext område som innefattar många tätt sammanlänkade underdiscipliner. Ett lyckat flygplan är således en väl avvägd kompromiss mellan alla dessa discipliner. Dagens hårda konkurrens, krav på miljö, samt tekniska komplexitet ökar kraven på att framtidens flygplan måste vara bättre optimerade än idag. Traditionell flygplanskonstruktion kan ses som en sekventiell process där man stegvis förfinar konstruktionen en disciplin i taget. Med modern datorkraft och beräkningsprogram kan denna process delvis automatiseras varpå man på ett tidigare stadium kan ta hänsyn till fler discipliner. Många av de steg som tidigare genomförts sekventiellt kan nu göras parallellt. Det ökar möjligheten att nå en optimal konstruktion, samt minskar riskerna för att man tidigt bygger in fel i konstruktionen som är kostsamma att rätta till i ett senare skede. I den här avhandlingen beskrivs hur sådan konstruktionsautomation kan genomföras med hjälp av multidisciplinär optimering och en sammankoppling av ett flertal programvaror. Detta har speciellt applicerats på så kallade ”micro air vehicles” (MAV).

En MAV kan beskrivas som en luftfarkost av en sådan storlek att den enkelt kan bäras och skötas av en person. I princip ett flygplan i samma storleksklass som fåglar. I Sverige benämns dessa ofta som ”micro UAV”. Nyttan med MAVs är många sett både från ett militärt och civilt perspektiv. Typiska användningsområden är spaning/övervakning inom polis, militär och räddningsverksamhet, samt kartering, meterologi, gränsbevakning, jordbruksinventering etc. Den konstruktionsautomation som har utvecklats möjliggör att generera MAVs optimerade för givna prestandakrav och önskad nyttolast. I optimeringen så genereras den optimala skrovformen, val av framdrivningssystem, samt placering av interna komponenter. Slutligen så tillverkas den genererade farkosten genom en 3D skrivare. Avhandlingen lägger även vikt vid att experimentellt validera de beräkningar som ligger till grund för optimeringen.

Det andra spåret i avhandlingen behandlar ämnet konceptutvärdering genom nedskalade modeller. Att bygga och testa fysiska modeller är egentligen inget nytt inom flygkonstruktion. Avhandlingen visar dock hur man med modern teknik kan göra detta billigare än tidigare och samtidigt öka nyttan. Miniatyriseringen av elektronik gör att det idag går att utrusta radiostyrda demonstratorer med avancerade mätsystem varpå värdefull data kan insamlas. Vikten av att kunna testa fysiska prototyper ökar alltjämt som flygindustrin blir allt mer teoretisk. Tiden mellan olika flygplanskonstruktioner blir också längre, samt att behovet för nya radikala konstruktioner ökar för att möta de strama miljökraven. Att snabbt och billigt kunna utvärdera prototyper blir därför en allt viktigare del för att hålla kompetensen på en hög nivå. Avhandlingen behandlar skalning, konstruktionsmetoder, instrumentering och testning.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2012. , 100 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1480
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-84673ISBN: 978-91-7519-788-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-84673DiVA: diva2:561097
Public defence
2012-11-23, ACAS, A huset, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2012-10-17 Created: 2012-10-17 Last updated: 2012-10-31Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Distributed Framework for Micro Aerial Vehicle Design Automation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Distributed Framework for Micro Aerial Vehicle Design Automation
2008 (English)In: Proceedings from the 46th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit, 7 - 10 January, Reno, NV, USA, AIAA , 2008, 140- p.Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Micro or mini aerial vehicles are characterized by being simple and inexpensive to build, and due to their small size very important to optimize. They are also likely to be built in relatively small series and be tailored for the sensors and equipment available at the time of deployment. Therefore "design and build on demand" is very attractive, where a modular concept with a more or less automated design process is desirable. In this paper design automation of a Micro or Mini Aerial Vehicle (MAV) is demonstrated using a distributed design optimization framework that involves selections of components from a database of propulsion system equipment and geometrical shape optimization. The framework links together a CAD system, responsible for the aircraft shape generation, with a panel code for aerodynamic evaluations.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
AIAA, 2008
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-13308 (URN)978-1-62410-128-1 (ISBN)
Conference
46th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit, 7 - 10 January, Reno, NV, USA
Available from: 2008-05-21 Created: 2008-05-21 Last updated: 2012-10-17Bibliographically approved
2. Automated Design and Fabrication of Micro Air Vehicles
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Automated Design and Fabrication of Micro Air Vehicles
2011 (English)In: Journal of Aerospace Engineering, ISSN 0893-1321, E-ISSN 1943-5525, Vol. 226, no 10, 1271-1282 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A methodology for an automated design and fabrication of micro-air vehicles (MAVs) is presented. A design optimization framework has been developed that interfaces several software systems to generate MAVs to optimally fulfil specific mission requirements. By means of amulti-objective genetic algorithm, families of MAVs are tailored with respect to objectives such as weight and endurance. The framework takes into consideration the airframe and aerodynamic design as well as the selection and positioning of internal components. The selection of propulsion system components is made from a database of off-the-shelf components. In combination with a three-dimensional printer, physical prototypes can be quickly manufactured. A validation of the framework results from flight tests of a real MAV is also presented.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
SAGE Journals online, 2011
Keyword
Micro Air Vehicle; multidisciplinary optimization; multi-objective optimization; genetic algorithm; CAD automation; design automation
National Category
Mechanical Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-73107 (URN)10.1177/0954410011419612 (DOI)000312145300006 ()
Available from: 2011-12-16 Created: 2011-12-16 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
3. Validation of Models for Small Scale Electric Propulsion Systems
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Validation of Models for Small Scale Electric Propulsion Systems
2010 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

At Linköping University work has been carried out towards having an automated designand manufacturing process of Micro Air Vehicles (MAV). A dedicated design optimizationframework has been developed. Initial experience has shown that choosing the rightpropulsion system has a major relevance on the overall performance of the aircraft. Thusthe correctness and fidelity of the models used to describe each component of the propulsionsystem are matters of great importance. With this knowledge an effort has been made tovalidate the propulsion system’s models. Using a specifically designed test rig a number ofdifferent motors and motor controllers have been tested. The motor model has shown goodcorrelation with test data, although manufacturer’s specifications have proven less reliable.Motor controller characteristics has shown to be complex and difficult to model.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2010
Keyword
Design automation, multidisciplinary optimization, MAV, model validation
National Category
Vehicle Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-62586 (URN)10.2514/6.2010-483 (DOI)978-1-61738-422-6 (ISBN)
Conference
48th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting Including the New Horizons Forum and Aerospace Exposition, Orlando, Florida, Jan. 4-7, 2010
Available from: 2010-11-30 Created: 2010-11-30 Last updated: 2016-05-11Bibliographically approved
4. Testing of Atmospheric Turbulence Effects on the Performance of Micro Air Vehicles
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Testing of Atmospheric Turbulence Effects on the Performance of Micro Air Vehicles
2012 (English)In: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MICRO AIR VEHICLES, ISSN 1756-8293, Vol. 4, no 2, 133-149 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Micro Air Vehicles (MAV) are generally operated at low altitudes and within the earth boundary layer. This is a very dynamic environment with varying wind intensity and turbulence levels far greater than those experienced by traditional manned aircraft cruising at higher altitudes. Yet aerodynamic research on MAVs is often based on the assumption of steady aerodynamics. Little effort has been made to experimentally determine the validity of this assumption. In this paper, the effect of turbulence on the performance of a MAV is studied using flight testing in different wind conditions. Flight testing technique, data logging equipment and data reduction are explained. Additionally, a low cost technique for propeller performance measurement is presented. Results show that the flow around a MAV flying in windy conditions qualifies as highly unsteady, although the impact on its performance is surprisingly small for the kind of turbulence levels at which MAVs can be expected to operate. Accelerometer data from the flights reveals that if steady aerodynamic theory is assumed, increasing turbulence should have resulted in a measurable drag increase, thus indicating that the tested MAV to some extent passively manages to benefit from the turbulence.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Multi-Science Publishing, 2012
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-81837 (URN)10.1260/1756-8293.4.2.133 (DOI)000307637400003 ()
Available from: 2012-09-25 Created: 2012-09-24 Last updated: 2012-10-17
5. RAVEN - A Subscale Radio Controlled Business Jet Demonstrator
Open this publication in new window or tab >>RAVEN - A Subscale Radio Controlled Business Jet Demonstrator
2008 (English)In: proceedings from the ICAS 2008, CD-ROM, Anchorage: International Council of the Aeronautical Sciences, (ICAS) , 2008Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

A dynamically scaled model of a Business-Jet has been build and is undergoing testing at Linköping University. The goal of the project was to understand the difficutlties of dynamic scaling and how to extract useful data from subscale flight testing. This paper presents the experience made during the projects up to the time of writing, and includes details from manufacturing, ground testing equipment such as car top testing, in flight data acquisition system design and preparation for the fligt testing.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Anchorage: International Council of the Aeronautical Sciences, (ICAS), 2008
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-43959 (URN)75233 (Local ID)0-9533991-9-2 (ISBN)75233 (Archive number)75233 (OAI)
Conference
26th Congress of the International Council of the Aeronautical Sciences, 14-19 September 2008, Anchorage, Alaska, USA
Available from: 2009-10-10 Created: 2009-10-10 Last updated: 2012-10-17Bibliographically approved
6. Subscale flight testing used in conceptual design
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Subscale flight testing used in conceptual design
Show others...
2012 (English)In: AIRCRAFT ENGINEERING AND AEROSPACE TECHNOLOGY, ISSN 1748-8842, Vol. 84, no 3, 192-199 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to present the latest subscale demonstrator aircraft developed at Linkoping University. It has been built as part of a study initiated by the Swedish Material Board (FMV) on a Generic Future Fighter aircraft. The paper will cover different aspects of the performed work: from paper study realised by SAAB to the first flight of the scaled demonstrator. The intention of the paper is to describe what has been realised and explain how the work is may be used to fit within aircraft conceptual design. Design/methodology/approach - The approach has been to address the challenges proposed by the customer of the demonstrator, how to design, manufacture and operate a scaled demonstrator of an aircraft study in conceptual design within five months. Similar research projects have been reviewed in order to perform the current work. Findings - The results obtained so far have led to new questions. In particular, the project indicated that more research is needed within the area of subscale flight testing for usage in aircraft conceptual design, since a scaled demonstrator is likely to answer some questions but will probably open up new ones. Research limitations/implications - The current research is just in its infancy and does not bring any final conclusion but does, however, offer several guidelines for future works. Since the aircraft study was an early phase concept study, not much data are available for validation or comparison. Therefore, the paper is not presenting new methods or general conclusions. Practical implications - Results from a conceptual aircraft study and a realisation of a scaled prototype are presented, which show that scaled flight testing may be used with some restriction in conceptual design. Originality/value - The value of this paper is to show that universities can be involved in prototype development and can work in close collaboration with industries to address issues and solutions within aircraft conceptual design.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
EMERALD GROUP PUBLISHING LIMITED, 2012
Keyword
Aircraft; Design; Aerodynamics; Subscale flight testing; Conceptual design; Prototype; Demonstrator
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-79714 (URN)10.1108/00022661211222058 (DOI)000305871700008 ()
Available from: 2012-08-13 Created: 2012-08-13 Last updated: 2012-10-17Bibliographically approved

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