Browse Publications Technical Papers 2018-36-0073
2018-09-03

Design study of high aspect ratio wings for unmanned air vehicles (UAV's) 2018-36-0073

The availability of new technologies and the growing interest in the development of autonomous aircraft has created a demand for performance evaluation of aircraft flying at high altitudes over a long period of time for applications such as monitoring, telecommunications, etc. This work presents a study on the use of wings with high aspect ratio for the application in unmanned aircraft, that fly at high altitudes and require great endurance to remain flying as long as possible. With reference to the AeroVironment Helios aircraft, which hit the altitude record in 2001, flying at more than 29,000 meters altitude, a comparison was made between five wings with different wingspan from the aerodynamic and structural point of view. The aerodynamic performance of each wing was calculated and structural design and sizing was performed, assuming that it is the main structural component of the wing. Optimazing each wing aerodynamically and structurally, it was possible to compare wing performance in terms of maximum range and maximum endurance. The analysis focused on evaluate the aerodynamic and structural performance for a more efficient design that meets flight requirements. The results showed that the increase in wingspan improves the aerodynamic performance of the wing, but with the cost of increasing its structural weight. The wing with the largest wingspan (20% increase relative to the baseline wing), although presented the best aerodynamic characteristics, presented bad performance due to its heavy weight. However, the proposed modification of the original wing with 10% increase in wingspan presented the best performance in terms of range and endurance.

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