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Computational Fluid Dynamics for prediction of flow separation from aircraft tail surfaces

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Enhancing engineers’ capability to predict flow separation from the surfaces of an aircraft would generate important benefits in aircraft performance. In this study the attention is focused on one component of the aircraft that is usually large and requires a heavy assembly: the vertical tail plane (VTP). For common multi-engine commercial airliners, the size of this component is driven by a particular flight condition: loss of an engine during take-off and low speed climb. In this condition, the VTP has to be sufficient in size to balance the aircraft. The vertical tailplane is also crucial during crosswind take-off and landing, so it is import to study the behaviour of the flow around its surfaces in these particular flight conditions. Nowadays, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is used for aircraft aerodynamic design, together with experimental observations. However, due to uncertainties in prediction of flow separation, engineers keep to a conservative approach, risking to oversize the aircraft surfaces. This may lead to increase of fuel consumption and operative costs. This project studies the capabilities of different CFD techniques to predict flow separation, and aims to research novel methods that would improve the aircraft aerodynamic design.

This talk is part of the Darwin College Sciences Group series.

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