Unsteady Aerodynamics of Deformable Thin Airfoils

by William Paul Walker

Institution: Virginia Tech
Department: Aerospace and Ocean Engineering
Degree: MS
Year: 2009
Keywords: Unsteady Aerodynamics; Deformable Airfoils
Record ID: 1854359
Full text PDF: http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/theses/available/etd-08182009-141222/


Unsteady aerodynamic theories are essential in the analysis of bird and insect flight. The study of these types of locomotion is vital in the development of flapping wing aircraft. This paper uses potential flow aerodynamics to extend the unsteady aerodynamic theory of Theodorsen and Garrick (which is restricted to rigid airfoil motion) to deformable thin airfoils. Frequency-domain lift, pitching moment and thrust expressions are derived for an airfoil undergoing harmonic oscillations and deformation in the form of Chebychev polynomials. The results are validated against the time-domain unsteady aerodynamic theory of Peters. A case study is presented which analyzes several combinations of airfoil motion at different phases and identifies various possibilities for thrust generation using a deformable airfoil.