Unsteady Aerodynamics of Wings in Extreme Conditions

  • Gursul, Ismet (PI)
  • Cleaver, David (CoI)

Project: Research council

Project Details


Currently aircraft designers must design for the worst case scenario plus a safety factor. This worst case scenario is always at the edge of the performance envelope and is associated with extreme manoeuvres and /or gusts. The aerodynamic flow over thse cases is characterised by highly unsteady, separated flow regions and possibly vortical interactions. Despite the importance of these extreme cases in dictating the aircraft structure very little is known about these highly separated flows and the current theoretical models are poor at predicting the unsteady forces. The aim of this project is to achieve a complete understanding of the unsteady aerodynamic behaviour of generic wings in extreme conditions involving plunging motion near the stall angle. This improved knowledge of the vortical flows, and their influence on aerodynamic force generation, will be used to develop accurate reduced-order models, to improve the accuracy of numerical simulations and to develop effective high-frequency load control strategies. The proposed project will address these aspects through a combined experimental (University of Bath) and computational (University of Southampton) approach using state of the art facilities. The benefits of this increased understanding of the highly separated flows, accurate reduced-order models and accurate numerical simulations will aid aircraft designers by removing some of the uncertainty that surrounds flight at the limits of the performance envelope. In addition, the high-frequency loads control strategies are a potentially feasible method of then controlling and limiting these extreme loads. Hence, the aircraft design can not only predict with greater accuracy but also control. Both elements will allow for lighter, more fuel efficient aircraft.
Effective start/end date1/07/1530/06/18


  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council


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