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University of Kentucky UKnowledge University of Kentucky Doctoral Dissertations Graduate School 2008 DESIGN AND EVALUATION

University of Kentucky

2008

DESIGN AND EVALUATION OF INFLATABLE WINGS FOR UAVs

Andrew D. Simpson

University of Kentucky, adsimpson@gmail.com

Recommended Citation

Simpson, Andrew D., "DESIGN AND EVALUATION OF INFLATABLE WINGS FOR UAVs" (2008). University of Kentucky Doctoral Dissertations. Paper 589.

http://uknowledge.uky.edu/gradschool_diss/589

This Dissertation is brought to you for free and open access by the Graduate School at UKnowledge. It has been accepted for inclusion in University of Kentucky Doctoral Dissertations by an authorized administrator of UKnowledge. For more information, please contact UKnowledge@lsv.uky.edu.

ABSTRACT OF DISSERTATION

Andrew D. Simpson

The Graduate School

University ofKentucky

2008

DESIGN AND EVALUATION OF INFLATABLE WINGS FOR UAVs

ABSTRACT OF DISSERTATION

A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the College of Engineering at the University of Kentucky

By

Andrew D. Simpson

Lexington, Kentucky

Co-Directors: Dr. Jamey D. Jacob, Associate Professors of Aerospace Engineering

and Dr. Suzanne Weaver Smith, Associate Professors of Mechanical Engineering

Stillwater, Oklahoma and Lexington, Kentucky

2008

Copyright

c by Andrew D. Simpson 2008

ABSTRACT OF DISSERTATION

DESIGN AND EVALUATION OF INFLATABLE WINGS FOR UAVs

Performance of inflatable wings was investigated through laboratory, wind tunnel and flight-testing. Three airfoils were investigated, an inflatable-rigidazable wing, an inflatable polyurethane wing and a fabric wing restraint with a polyurethane bladder. The inflatable wings developed and used within this research had a unique outer airfoil profile. The airfoil surface consisted of a series of chord-wise “bumps.” The effect of the bumps or “surface perturbations” on the performance of the wings was of concern and was investigated through smoke-wire flow visualization. Aerodynamic measurements and predictions were made to determine the performance of the wings at varying chord based Reynolds Numbers and angles of attack. The inflatable baffles were found to introduce turbulence into the free- stream boundary layer, which delayed separation and improved performance.

Another area of concern was aeroelasticity. The wings contain no solid structural members and thus rely exclusively on inflation pressure for stiffness. Inflation pressure was varied below the design pressure in order to examine the effect on wingtip twist and bending. This lead to investigations into wing deformation due to aerodynamic loading and an investigation of wing flutter. Photogrammetry and laser displacement sensors were used to determine the wing deflections. The inflatable wings exhibited wash-in deformation behavior. Alternately, as the wings do not contain structural members, the relationship between stiffness and inflation pressure was exploited to actively manipulate wing through wing warping. Several warping techniques were developed and employed within this re- search. The goal was to actively influence the shape of the inflatable wings to affect the flight dynamics of the vehicle employing them. Researchers have developed inflatable beam theory and models to analyze torsion and bending of inflatable beams and other inflatable structures. This research was used to model the inflatable wings to predict the performance of the inflatable wings during flight. Design elements of inflatable wings incorporated on the UAVs used within this research are also discussed. Finally, damage resistance of the inflatable wings is shown from results of flight tests.

KEYWORDS: Inflatable Wings, Aerodynamics, Aeroelasticity, Flight Testing, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).

Andrew D. Simpson

02/22/2008

DESIGN AND EVALUATION OF INFLATABLE WINGS FOR UAVs

By

Andrew D. Simpson

Dr. Jamey D. Jacob

Co-Director of Thesis

Dr. Suzanne Weaver Smith

Co-Director of Thesis

Dr. L. Scott Stephens

Director of Graduate Studies

02/22/2008

RULES FOR THE USE OF DISSERTATIONS

Unpublished dissertations submitted for the Doctor’s degree and deposited in the University of Kentucky Library are as a rule open for inspection, but are to be used only with due regard to the rights of the authors. Bibliographical references may be noted, but quotations or summaries of parts may be published only with the permission of the author, and with the usual scholarly acknowledgments.

Extensive copying or publication of the dissertation in whole or in part requires also the consent of the Dean of The Graduate School of the University of Kentucky.

A library which borrows this thesis for use by its patrons is expected to secure the signature of each user.

Name

Date

DISSERTATION

Andrew D. Simpson

The Graduate School

University of Kentucky

2008

DESIGN AND EVALUATION OF INFLATABLE WINGS FOR UAVs

DISSERTATION

A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the College of Engineering at the University of Kentucky

By

Andrew D. Simpson

Lexington, Kentucky

Co-Directors: Dr. Jamey D. Jacob, Associate Professors of Aerospace Engineering

and Dr. Suzanne Weaver Smith, Associate Professors of Mechanical Engineering

Stillwater, Oklahoma and Lexington, Kentucky

2008

Copyright

c by Andrew D. Simpson 2008

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would first like to thank my wife, Colleen. You were my principle motivation for

beginning this journey; and certainly the reason I am now completing it. I could not have done this without you. Thanks to my parents and brother (Mom, Dad and Rob) for all you have done. All of you have molded me into who I am today. You have always been my

rocks to lean on in difficult times. I love you all so much.

I would like to thank my dissertation committee members; Dr. Michael Seigler, Dr.

Raymond LeBeau (for your patience, advise and instruction “I always seemed able to focus better when to brought your baseball bat to class”), and Dr. Tim Stombaugh (for guiding me through my Masters degree and without whom I would not have come to the US). My

outside committee member, Dr. Kamyar Mahboub for your time, commitment, and outside perspective. I would particularly like to thank Dr. Suzanne Smith and Dr. Jamey Jacob.

Dr. Smith, I cannot thank you enough for the countless opportunities that you have given me during the last four years; the travel, exciting projects and the opportunities to teach and talk with everybody form kinder gardeners to high school students to world- renowned researchers to old men (“sorry Ed”) in the local flying club. Thank you for all the instruction and coaching I received.

Dr. JDJ (Jamey), you are a friend who is my mentor. You have opened so many doors for me, encouraged and challenged me, taken me on some wild and fun adventures, always with a smile and a witty comment. I hope one day I will be in a position to repay you. Thank you for all the lunches, dinners and beers you sponsored along the way. I hope you know my home will always be open to you and fridge will always be stocked with beers. Working with you has been fun and will always remain one of my fondest memories!

I’ve had some fantastic lab mates over the last few years. You guys have made life in the basement fun, thank you to Dr. Jennie Campbell, Mr. John Rowe, Dr. Arvind Santhanakrishnan, Dr. Nan Jou Pern, Mr Karthik Ramakumar, Mr. Jeff Gagel, Mrs. Kathy Warren, Ms. Michiko Usui, Dr. Jon Black, Mr David Munday, Dr. Rahul Bharadwajh, Ms. Lavanya Rangubhotla, Dr. Mark McQuilling, Mr. Tim Brown and Dr. Jody Purswell. Thanks to all of you, going to work everyday was a pleasant experience.

I’d like to thank the entire South African community in Lexington. I’ve singled out a

few here but the list is much longer. The Snr de Beers, for feeding a starving grad student, and opening your home to me (and Fred for your standard question “so what are you going

to do with the rest of your life?

Have you thought about a Ph.D.?”). The

through an answer – which he follows with

awkward pause – I realizes he’s not kidding – I stumble

iii

Steyns for your friendship, Wehan for the fun on the rugby field and golf course. The Dorflings for you support encouragement, friendship, food and beer. You guys “are” family. Last but by no means least the Jnr DeBeers and my mother-in-law – Jan, Lauren, Idalia,

Louisa, and Evelyn. Thank you for all that you have done for me

me, housed me, clothed me, and married me off to your daughter (and sister). Jan I would

not be here today had I not met you on my second day in the US

I’d like to acknowledge the BIG BLUE team of over +-200 undergraduate, graduate, and high school students students in Mechanical and in Electrical and Computer Engineer- ing at the University of Kentucky who conceived, designed, fabricated, tested, launched, recovered and evaluated many cool experiments some of which were directly related to this research. Thanks also to the men of the LMAC (especially Mr. Ed King), for sharing you runway with me, giving me helpful advice, and having a good laugh with me on Wednesday mornings. Without all of your help this project would not have been possible. I’m very grateful for numerous discussions and support from ILC Dover, Inc. under the direction of Dave Cadogan and including Matt Mackusick, Stephen Scarborough, Frank Uhlesky, Tim Smith, and Ryan Lee, and Bobby Jones. Your support was greatly appreci- ated. This project was partially funded ILC Dover and Kentucky NASA EPSCoR under the auspices of Drs. Richard and Karen Hackney at Western Kentucky University. The BIG BLUE project was supported by a NASA Workforce Development grant from the NASA Kentucky Space Grant Consortium, directed by Dr. Richard Hackney.

you have nourished

guaranteed.

iv

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

 

iii

LIST OF TABLES

 

vii

LIST OF FIGURES

viii

LIST OF FILES

 

xiii

Chapter 1

INTRODUCTION

 

1

1.1 The Inflatable Wing

 

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1.2 Collaboration with ILC Dover

 

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1.3 Research Outline

 

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2

1.4 Goals

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3

Chapter 2

PREVIOUS WORK

 

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2.1 A Brief History of UAVs .

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2.2 Vehicle Terminology

 

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7

2.3 Aerodynamics .

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2.3.1 Surface Roughness

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2.3.2 Aerodynamic Lift .

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19

2.3.3 Efficiency and Performance Parameters

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24

2.3.4 XFoil

 

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28

2.4 Aeroelasticity

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30

2.4.1 Flutter .

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31

2.4.2 Types of Flutter

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32

2.4.3 Wake vortex flutter – Motion

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32

2.5 Morphing and Warping Wings

 

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35

2.5.1 Biological Inspiration

 

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36

2.5.2 History of Wing-Warping

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37

2.6 Inflatable Structures

 

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46

2.6.1

Inflatable Wings

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47

2.7 Modeling of Inflatable Wings

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56

2.7.1 Aerodynamic and Aeroelastic modeling of Inflatable wings

 

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2.7.2 Bending and Analysis of Inflatable Beams

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59

Chapter 3

INFLATABLE WING DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT

 

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3.1 Inflatable-rigidizable Wings at the University of Kentucky

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64

3.1.1 BIG BLUE Flight Experiments 1 and 2

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3.1.2 Inflatable-rigidizable Wing Design, Construction, Analysis and Testing 67

3.1.3 BIG BLUE High Altitude Flight Experiments 1 and 2

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3.2 Inflatable Wing Research at the University of Kentucky

 

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76

3.2.1 BIG BLUE Flight Experiments 3 and 4

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79

3.2.2 BIG BLUE High Altitude Flight Experiments 3 and 4

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79

3.2.3 BIG BLUE High Altitude Flight Experiment 5

 

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81

3.2.4 Inflatable Wing Design and Construction

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83

3.2.5 Finite Element Modeling of Inflatable Wings

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85

iv

3.3

Inflation Requirements .

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88

3.3.1

Current Inflatable Wing Research

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90

Chapter 4

RESEARCH EQUIPMENT AND TECHNIQUES

 

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4.1 Photogrammetry and Videogrammetry

 

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4.1.1 The Photogrammetric Process

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93

4.1.2 Photogrammetry on the inflatable wings

 

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4.1.3 Videogrammetry

 

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95

4.2 Laser Displacement Sensors

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95

4.3 Smoke-Wire Flow Visualization

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97

4.4 PIV – Particle Image Velocimetry

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97

4.4.1

PIV Procedure

 

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98

4.5 Wind Tunnels .

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99

4.5.1 Large Wind Tunnel

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99

4.5.2 Small Wind Tunnel

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99

4.6 Seven-Hole Pressure Probe

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101

Chapter 5

AEROELASTIC EFFECTS AND WING WARPING

 

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5.1 Wing Deformation

 

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103

5.1.1 Point Loading .

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104

5.1.2 Distributed Loading

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104

5.1.3 Torsional Loading

 

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105

5.1.4 Dynamic Deformation – Nitinol .

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106

5.1.5 Dynamic Deformation – Mechanical devices

 

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5.2 Inflatable Wing Warping

 

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109

5.2.1

Initial Warping Strategies

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110

5.3 Current Inflatable Warping Strategies

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114

5.3.1 Mechanical Mechanisms

 

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115

5.3.2 Nitinol Warping System

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123

5.4 Nylon Inflatable Wing – Aeroelastic Deformation

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125

5.4.1 Experimental Set-Up

 

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127

5.4.2 Results - Aeroelastic Deformation

 

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128

5.5 Buckling Prediction

 

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135

5.6 Free and Forced Vibration of the nylon Inflatable Wing

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141

5.6.1 Modal Testing Arrangement and Procedures

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141

5.6.2 Modal Analysis .

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143

5.6.3 Forced Vibration due to Dynamic Loading

 

151

Chapter 6

AERODYNAMICS AND FLIGHT MECHANICS

 

158

6.1 Wind Tunnel Measurements .

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158

6.1.1 Wake Survey

 

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158

6.1.2 PIV Circulation Analysis

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160

6.2 Aerodynamic Modeling of Inflatable Wings with Wing Warping

 

162

6.2.1 Lifting line analysis – Vectran wings

 

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164

6.2.2 Lifting line analysis – nylon wings

 

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171

6.2.3 Nylon wing performance – aeroelastic effects

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173

6.2.4 Modeling – Nylon Wing Warping

 

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v

Chapter 7

FLIGHT TESTING AND WING DURABILITY

190

7.1 Inflatable-rigidizable wings

 

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190

 

7.1.1

Low altitude flight tests with inflatable-rigidizable wings

 

190

7.2 Vectran wings

 

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195

 

7.2.1 Low altitude flight testing with Vectran Wings

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195

7.2.2 Big Blue – AIRCAT

 

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202

7.3 Nylon wings .

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