There has been strong interest in applying innovative morphing wings to the next generation passenger-carrying jets, eco-friendly electric aircraft and drones to improve aerodynamic efficiency, aligning with the sustainability development in future aviation. Morphing wings were inspired initially by biomimicry through studies on the flapping motions of birds’ wings. The shape of the wing can be variable and optimised for maximum flight performance at different flight operating envelopes. Numerous research studies have been conducted in the materials, structures, aeroelasticity and aerodynamics of morphing wings (Ozel et al. (2020), Khac et al. (2010), and Sun et al. (2016)). The majority of the existing research focused on both unsteady and steady aerodynamic characteristics and drag reduction using two-dimensional CFD simulations such as the works of Bashir et al. (2021), Kan et al. (2020) and Abdessemed et al. (2019). They used the NACA 0012 aerofoil because extensive numerical simulation and experimental data were published.
This study investigates the steady-state characteristics of both wings with Leading-Edge (TL)and Trailing-Edge (TE) morphing using the NACA 0012 at the same conditions in recent computational studies. The originality and added value of the current proposal are that we will evaluate the combined effects of variable leading edge and trailing edge together, as most previous studies focused primarily on morphing trailing edge alone. In addition, the effects of the length of the LE morphing “slat"and TE morphing “flap” will be investigated in the parametric study. Currently, there is a gap in how we can effectively implement the fundamental research results of simple symmetrical aerofoils to real-world applications in electric aircraft and unmanned drones.
The aims of the project are:
1) To design a set of quasi-3D, generic wings using the benchmark NACA0012 aerofoil with optimised leading-edge and trailing-edge morphing deflections.
2) To compare the aerodynamic performance of the morphing wings against a baseline design without camber deformation using RANS CFD simulations.
3) To evaluate the effects of the combined LE and TE morphing versus (i) baseline without deformation, (ii) LE morphing, (iii) TE morphing, (iv) LE and TE morphing at various angles of attack on the lift, drag and stalling characteristics.
4) To elucidate the effects of varying the length of the LE and TE parametric deformation versus the 25% chord baseline.
5) To validate and compare the current simulation with existing CFD and experimental results.
The methodology involves the application of ANSYS Fluent using different turbulence/transition models for the CFD flow simulations. XFOIL software will be used as the preliminary design tool, and the results will be validated against the RANS simulations using Fluent. A morphing deformation algorithm using MATHLAB will be developed to transform a NACA 0012 aerofoil using a polynomial function for the camber. The parametrisation of the geometry includes variations in LE and TE deformations and the length of the deformation region.