EXPERIMENTAL INVESTIGATION OF THE AERODYNAMIC CHARACTERISTICS OF A K TANDEM CONFIGURATION

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1 EXPERIMENTAL INVESTIGATION OF THE AERODYNAMIC CHARACTERISTICS OF A K TANDEM CONFIGURATION João Barbosa * & Jorge Gonçalves & Pedro Gamboa Department of Aerospace Sciences Universidade da Beira Interior Covilhã, Portugal Abstract This project was initiated after the design produced by students during the Aircraft Design course resulted in the non-conventional K aeroplane. The main objectives of this work are to introduce practical testing procedures to the students, to experimentally verify the aerodynamic characteristics and get a better aerodynamic representation, to gain a better understanding of the flowfield around the aircraft, to build a database for future designs and to perform a CFD analysis using a commercial software package. This paper has an introduction where the context of the design is presented followed by a summary of the aircraft characteristics. Then, the objectives of this investigation are fully stated as a consequence of the design and the wind tunnel model is briefly discribed. The tests carried out on the wind tunnel for Re 50 are then presented with a short discussion on the main results obtained. A CFD analysis is introduced as a tool for extrapolating results for other Re and for pressure distribution and streamlines visualisation. The paper ends with a brief conclusion on the work done and a few items proposed for further work. The experience gained has been very useful to understand the overall characteristics of the K model resulting from its components contributions and also to collect information to be used in the education of forthcoming students. Burt Rutan in the mid seventies, in a period when the wounds of the oil crisis were still present. At the time, one ought to seek for low cost solutions. The tandem configuration was reborn. Looking like a dragonfly, but with suitable wing sections, the Quickie aircraft performs as well as aeroplanes three times more powerful. Introduction The idea of designing an aircraft with a tandem wing configuration came up during the Aircraft Design course. As usual, some specifications were set for the design project - this time a small leisure aeroplane - and two students came up with this innovative configuration. The search for data on similar aircraft was extensive but fruitless. The only one that fell within the needs was the Quickie aircraft designed by Figure 1 The "K" aeroplane. Some literature reseach on the configuration and some thought led one to the conclusion that good performance was possible due to the combination of * Final year student in Aeronautical Engineering. Graduate in Aeronautical Engineering. Assistant lecturing the Aircraft Design course

2 high lift coefficients and low drag resulting from the small wing area and high effective aspect ratio as well as the good stall characteristics which make the aircraft safe to fly. All these factors together with the inherent beauty of the configuration encouraged the study of the K aircraft. Preliminary Design The preliminary design was carried out by the students over two semesters, where layout, aerodynamics, weight and balance, performance, stability and control, ergonomics, mechanisms and some loading actions were the issues considered which led to the present design (1,2,4,5,6,7,10). The aircraft under consideration is designed to the JAR-VLA requirements (8). It is a single seat, fibreglass aircraft with the wing geometry is of the tandem type configuration; it has got a single engine positioned behind the cockpit with a pusher propeller and a tricicle undercarriage with a fixed main gear and a retractable nose gear. The elevators are located on the aft wing, the flaperons on the front wing and the rudders are mounted on the fins one at each aft wing tip. Below some characteristics of the K aeroplane are shown: Seats 1 Front wing area 2.45 m 2 Aft wing area 2.45 m 2 Front wing span 4.42 m Aft wing span 4.93 m Overall length 3.66 m Height 1.83 m Aspect ratio 10 Empty weight 116 kg Maximum takeoff weight 246 kg Maximum payload 130 kg Fuel capacity 20 kg (28 l) Loading factors +5/-2.77 g Cruise speed (75 %) 190 km/h Maximum level speed 230 km/h Design speed 270 km/h Maximum rate of climb 4.5 m/s Maximum range 740 km Maximum endurance 5h30min Stall speed with flaps 77 km/h Stall speed without flaps 90 km/h Maximum takeoff power 28 hp Fuel Consumption 5.1 l/h Objectives After the aerodynamic, performance, longitudinal and latero-directional stability and control characteristics were estimated (using standard approaches) and proved adequate, it is most useful to compare those results with some experimental data as the configuration is not at all conventional. In order to do so one required to carry out some test work on a wind tunnel. The objective of this procedure was to investigate the influence of the various aircraft components (wings, fuselage, fins, etc.) over the others, as a whole and separate, such as the influence of the front wing and fuselage on the aerodynamic centre of the aeroplane and the influence of one wing on the other. Furthermore it was understood from the beginning of the design that the flowfield over the aft wing was to be greatly modified due to the presence of the front wing. It was thus decided that it would be a good learning experience to test a scaled model on a wind tunnel. Figure 2 Top view of the K model. There is no point in obtaing experimental data of aircraft models or components, through wind tunnel testing, unless that information is used afterwards. Since the purpose is to get a direct aproximation of results, then the experimental data obtained from wind tunnel measurements, when one considers extrapolating for the real aeroplane, allow a rapid, cheap and reliable aerodynamic investigation. The aim of this work is, therefore, by testing a nonconventional aircraft model in a wind tunnel, to prove the assumptions made to be correct and enable one to build an important set of data for the study of these types of aircraft. The Model The first step was the construction of the model for the tunnel. It was mandatory that its geometry be as close to the drawings as possible and that the surface finishing be smooth enough. It needed, as well, to be resistant and rigid under the aerodynamic loads in - 2 -

3 order for the tunnel to be run with a speed as high as feasible. For this reason the materials chosen were mahogany wood and epoxy resin. Due to wind tunnel size it was decided to build the model 4.74 times smaller than full scale. This permitted one to test the model with a Re of 50 running the tunnel at 60 m/s. Although this Re is much smaller than the full scale cruise value (2,00) the understanding of the flow behaviour and component influence could be obtained. The Re near the stall of the real aircraft is 90. This initial phase was lengthy, but gave the students a hands-on experience, where problems had to be solved and solutions found with the necessary compromises. The resulting model is made up of three main parts which enable different combinations to be tested including varying the incidence of the aft wing: fuselage front wing aft wing Figure 3 K model mounted on the 6-component balance. Wind Tunnel Testing Some longitudinal conditions were run to familiarise the students with the testing procedures. Then other tests were undertaken in order to determine the influence of the wings on each other the magnitude of the downwash and spanwise stall pattern. These were, for a range of angle of attack of -4º through 18, the following: fuselage fuselage + mirror mast fuselage + front wing fuselage + aft wing fuselage + front wing + aft wing Figure 4 Flow visualisation on the K model without and with the front wing

4 With the two first assemblies the fuselage contribution to the aerodynamic coefficients was obtained as well as the interference from the supporting mast. The other three gave the aerodynamic characteristics (C L vs α, C D vs α, C L vs C D and C M vs α) of the complete model and permitted the separate contributions of each wing to be quantified. Since the curve for C M vs α showed an almost zero gradient it was necessary to move the CG forward from its design position. Several visualisation tests were done with the last three configurations to see what sort of pattern the flow separation took on the wings and also to see what degree of influence they had on each other for the range of angles of attack referred above. It was noted that the effect of the aft wing on the front wing is negligible, whereas that of the front wing on the aft wing is greater than expected. CL (1) Fuselage (2) Fuselage + Front Wing (3) Fuselage + Aft Wing (4) - (2) 2,500 2,000 1,500 1,000 0,500-0,500-1,000 CL vs α 0,450 α [degrees] CD vs α In figure 4 it can be seen, for example, that at the same angle of attack (15º ) the flow pattern of the aft wing changes when the front wing is introduced. Also, two similar flow patterns exist on the aft wing with the aeroplane set at two distinct angles of attack, 15º and 19º, without and with the front wing present, respectively. These situations demonstrate the effect of the downflow coming off the front wing on the performance of the aft wing. From the sequence of the photographs taken it was clear that the front wing stalled significantly sooner than the aft wing, as desired, and that the stall on the aft wing starts from the tip which, as expected, suggests the need for washout. Figure 5 shows the variation of the aerodynamic coefficients with angle of attack for the various model assemblies tested. From these figures one can observe several important points about the aeroplane. The first is that the fuselage contribution for C L and C M is negligible whereas that for C D is almost three quarters of the total at zero angle of attack. The second is the relative contribution of each wing for the total forces and moments. Assuming the upwash on the front wing to be zero, i.e., the front wing lift in assembly (2) is the same as in assembly (4), then it is possible to quantify the actual lift contribution of the aft wing from the difference of lifts in assembly (2) and (4), as shown. The fraction of the total lift produced by the aft wing is therefore reduced by the presence of the front wing (the effective angle of attack of the aft wing is reduced by the downwash of the front wing). (1) Fuselage (2) Fuselage + Front Wing (3) Fuselage + Aft Wing 0,400 0,350 Downwash 0,300 7,000 CD 0,250 Measured Re Calculated Re ,000 0,200 5,000 0,150 4,000 0,100 0,050 ε [deg] 3,000 2,000 α [degrees] 1,000-1,000 2,500 Cm vs α -2,000 α [deg] (1) Fuselage (2) Fuselage + Front Wing (3) Fuselage + Aft Wing 2,000 1,500 1,000 0,500 Figure 6 Comparison of calculated and measured downwash angle. Cm Figure 5-0,500-1,000-1,500-2,000-2,500 α [degrees] Aerodynamic coefficients of the K model for Re 50. The downwash variation with angle of attack is represented in figure 6 as obtained from figure 5 and from calculations. These are average downwash values for the whole wing. Ss seen the actual values are about 1.5 times greater than those calculated. The latter significantly influenced some decisions made for the predicted coefficients

5 0,400 0,300 Cm vs α aerodynamic coefficients with the required flowfield parameters as expalined next. Cm 0,200 0,100-0,100-0,200-0,300 Complete Aircraft - Aft Wing + 2º -0,400 Complete Aircraft - Aft Wing + 3º -0,500 The same tests made on the wind tunnel will be carried out on a computer by introducing a model mesh into a simulated similar flowfield. After the results are obtained from the computer runs these will be compared with those obtained from the wind tunnel tests. If there is agreement in the data one can carry on with the CFD analysis for full scale flight conditions. α [deg] Figure 7 Aft wing incidence setting influence on overall pitching moment coefficient. Other interesting measurements carried out were made at different aft wing incidence settings to confirm the influence on the C M vs α curve. From figure 7 it is seen that an increase from the original incidence setting just brings the curve down in the scale. An apropriate angle setting may be chosen to balance the aircraft at a convenient angle of attack in cruise flight without incurring in additional trim drag. Another interesting feature observed from this figure is the influence of the front wing stall (11º ) and the aft wing stall (16º ) on the pitching moment. The testing (3) will carry on for some time as only a few longitudinal conditions have been run. Figure 8 Mesh of the "K" model on Aerologic Loftsman software. CFD Analysis Due to the limitations of the wind tunnel used it is not possible to develop a complete investigation of the aerodynamic characteristics of the model, as one cannot simulate the required similarity of the flowfield parameters (Mach number or Reynolds number) over the model. The CFD package is used to estimate the Figure 9 Cp distribution around "K" model at 2º angle of attack and Re 2,00. The software package used to create the external geometry of the aircraft and obtain the mesh for the CFD analysis, as shown in figure 8, was Loftsman by Aerologic (9). After the mesh was obtained it was - 5 -

6 exported to another software package, VSAERO. This CFD software gives force and moment coefficients due to pressure distribution and due to viscous effects. These two contributions added together result in the total coefficient values. Information about the boundary layer is also available. Up to now only some pressure distributions on the model for zero yaw angle have been obtained as shown in figure 9. Although the computer model does not have a wing-fuselage fairing (the tunnel model does) it is clear that an aerodynamic refinement has to be made (wind tunnel flow visualisation agrees with this). Conclusions Several modifications ought to be carried out to improve the longitudinal static stability of the aeroplane, as the wind tunnel results showed. The simplest one is to push the CG position forward. Other options are: to change the aft wing section to one that possesses a higher dc L /dα; to add washout to the aft wing (3º to 4º ) to improve not only its aerodynamic efficiency but also to balance the aircraft at a lower angle of attack. These changes would reduce dc m /dα further. Although the CFD analysis is not complete it was possible to visualize the airflow over the aircraft and gain a better understanding of the flowfield behaviour. The pressure distributions obtained suggested, as did the wind tunnel flow visualisation, some aerodynamic refinements to the outer aircraft shape. References 1. Abbot & Doenhoff, Theory of Wing Sections, Dover Publications Inc, L. Pazmany, Light Airplane Design 3rd edition, Pazmany Aircraft Corporation, A. Pope, J. J. Harper, Low-Speed Wind Tunnel Testing, John Wiley & Sons, Décio Pullin, Aerodinâmica do Avião Desempenho, Cid McGraw & Miguel Hill, Egbert Torenbeek, Synthesis of Subsonic Aeroplane Design, Delft University Press, Darrol Stinton, The Design of the Aeroplane, Daniel P. Raymer, Aircraft Design: A Conceptual Approach, AIAA Education Series, Civil Aviation Authority, JAR-VLA Very Light Aeroplanes, P. Garrison, Loftsman 4.0 Manual, Bernard Etkin, Dynamics of Atmospheric Flight, John Wiley & Sons Inc This project intended to get some coherent results between the theorectical calculations and both the experimental and CFD results. This was not quite achieved. In the future, the suggestions made should be tried out and implemented so that the investigation of the aerodynamic and stability (longitudinal and latero-directional) characteristics can be resumed. It is also proposed that a study of the stability modes should be undertaken, both theoretically and experimentally by using a radio-controlled model. Overall, the project was a very useful learning experience and, since it is to be continued, the forthcoming students will benefit from the current work and will be able to input the knowledge they gain, throughout the undergraduate course, to a challanging activity. Also, some qualitative information has been gathered which can be used to show other students how the air actually flows over the aeroplane and how it affects its aerodynamics

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