Computational Modelling Group

The use of channel wings for slow speed UAV flight

27th September 2016
Research Team
Juraj Mihalik
Andy Keane

Prototype 3D printed channel wings fitted to experimental UAV.

This project will make use of massively parallel computing and 3D printing (selective laser sintering) to open up the possibility of a new generation of slow speed flight UAVs by using Custer Channel wing ducts. Although such wings have been known about for 50 years they have, as yet, not been applied to small UAVs where they should allow very short take-off and landing capabilities. However to design effective systems the air-flow through the ducts must be carefully modelled using advanced CFD methods.

At the same time it is well known that to design such systems using deterministic CFD methods allowance must be made for the inevitable variabilities experienced in real systems. Simple one shot design calculations can be highly misleading giving poor performance in practice. This project will adopt next generation robust design processes using sparse quadrature methods to efficiently estimate ensemble behaviour of multiple goals and constraints using massively parallel computational approaches. Measured aerodynamic data taken from wind tunnel and flight trials will be used to ensure realistic analyses can be performed. These will be carried out at a range of modelling scales and linked via multi-fidelity meta-models to a series of experimental tests on 3D printed test specimens. This will be ground breaking work in the use of computational modelling and design optimization tools for robust design and will result in novel and advanced wing designs.

The resulting slow flight UAV will be flight trialled as part of this work.


Physical Systems and Engineering simulation: CFD, Flight simulation, Fluid Dynamics

Algorithms and computational methods: Optimisation

Transdisciplinary tags: NGCM, Scientific Computing