Aeromechanics of Inflatable Airfoils

Andrew Simpson, Michiko Usui, Suzanne Smith, Jamey Jacob
2004 34th AIAA Fluid Dynamics Conference and Exhibit   unpublished
The BIG BLUE (Baseline Inflatable Glider Balloon-Launched Unmanned Experiment) project at the University of Kentucky under a NASA Workforce Development Grant has a primary objective of promoting aerospace careers to undergraduate students. The goal of the project was to flight-test a high-altitude aircraft with inflatable/rigidizable wings to determine concept feasibility for a Mars explorer mission. The wings will be stowed in the fuselage, inflate during ascent, and rigidize with exposure to
more » ... e with exposure to UV light. The vehicle will descend as a glider with only tail control. Ease of manufacturing is the primary design constraint in choosing the wing profile. Results from combined XFoil and ANSYS analyses on multiple profiles are presented. The E398 profile was selected and has been tested with ideal and inflatable profiles in a wind tunnel at flight conditions. Results from lift/drag tests are presented. A summary of future and current work on inflatable airfoils at the University of Kentucky is reviewed.
doi:10.2514/6.2004-2233 fatcat:jwk4ev67vnbtrjivskifvcq7ty