Title page for ETD etd-11152011-193632

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Ghommem, Mehdi
Author's Email Address mehdig@vt.edu
URN etd-11152011-193632
Title Modeling and Analysis for Optimization of Unsteady Aeroelastic Systems
Degree PhD
Department Engineering Science and Mechanics
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Hajj, Muhammad R. Committee Chair
Puri, Ishwar K. Committee Co-Chair
Beran, Philip S. Committee Member
Canfield, Robert A. Committee Member
Gugercin, Serkan Committee Member
Mook, Dean T. Committee Member
  • model reduction
  • micro air vehicles
  • optimization
  • sensitivity analysis
Date of Defense 2011-11-03
Availability unrestricted
Simulating the complex physics and dynamics associated with unsteady aeroelastic systems is often attempted with high-fidelity numerical models. While these high-fidelity approaches are powerful in terms of capturing the main physical features, they may not discern the role of underlying phenomena that are interrelated in a complex manner. This often makes it difficult to characterize the relevant causal mechanisms of the observed features. Besides, the extensive computational resources and time associated with the use these tools could limit the capability of assessing different configurations for design purposes. These shortcomings present the need for the development of simplified and reduced-order models that embody relevant physical aspects and elucidate the underlying phenomena that help in characterizing these aspects. In this work, different fluid and aeroelastic systems are considered and reduced-order models governing their behavior are developed.

In the first part of the dissertation, a methodology, based on the method of multiple scales, is implemented to show its usefulness and effectiveness in the characterization of the physics underlying the system, the implementation of control strategies, and the identification of high-impact system parameters. In the second part, the unsteady aerodynamic aspects of flapping micro air vehicles (MAVs) are modeled. This modeling is required for evaluation of performance requirements associated with flapping flight. The extensive computational resources and time associated with the implementation of high-fidelity simulations limit the ability to perform optimization and sensitivity analyses in the early stages of MAV design. To overcome this and enable rapid and reasonably accurate exploration of a large design space, a medium-fidelity aerodynamic tool (the unsteady vortex lattice method) is implemented to simulate flapping wing flight. This model is then combined with uncertainty quantification and optimization tools to test and analyze the performance of flapping wing MAVs under varying conditions. This analysis can be used to provide guidance and baseline for assessment of MAVs performance in the early stages of decision making on flapping kinematics, flight mechanics, and control strategies.

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