The goal of this research is to improve the operation, durability, and safety of unmanned aerial systems (UASs). UASs with vertical take-off and landing capability are particularly susceptible to dynamic stall as they operate entirely in the highly unsteady planetary boundary layer. Intense unsteady loads generated as the vehicle undergoes dynamic stall can lead to catastrophic failure as well as fatigue failure. As of now, there are no rigorous mechanisms or methods being used to address the dynamic stall of UASs. A passive mechanism to mitigate dynamic stall is a desirable alternative to active control as it is simpler, robust, and economical. The research project will leverage recent advances in physics-based modeling and design methods to optimize the rotor blade shapes to reduce the risk of dynamic stall. The work will impact the development of UASs, as well as other systems such as wind turbines and aircraft.
LAUNCH students will analyze and develop optimal rotor blade shapes for UASs using computer simulations and numerical optimization techniques. In particular, the students will simulate the unsteady flow past the rotor blades during dynamic stall using physics-based computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models executed on high-performance computing clusters. Furthermore, the LAUNCH students will integrate the CFD models with state-of-the-art multifidelity optimization techniques to optimize the blade shapes with respect to dynamic stall.
Project Mentor: Dr. Leifur Leifsson