Title page for ETD etd-11232003-133555

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Johnston, Christopher Owen
Author's Email Address chjohnst@vt.edu
URN etd-11232003-133555
Title Actuator-Work Concepts Applied to Morphing and Conventional Aerodynamic Control Devices
Degree Master of Science
Department Aerospace and Ocean Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Mason, William H. Committee Chair
Inman, Daniel J. Committee Member
Robertshaw, Harry H. Committee Member
  • thin airfoil theory
  • morphing aircraft
  • aerodynamics
Date of Defense 2003-11-14
Availability unrestricted
The research presented in this thesis examines the use of an estimated "actuator work" value as a performance parameter for the comparison of various aerodynamic control device configurations. This estimated "actuator work," or practical work as it will be referred to as in this thesis, is based on the aerodynamic and structural resistance to a control surface deflection. It is meant to represent the actuator energy cost required to deflect a general configuration of conventional or unconventional control surface. Thin airfoil theory is used to predict the aerodynamic load distribution required for this work calculation. The details of applying thin airfoil theory to many different types of control surface arrangements are presented. Convenient equations for the aerodynamic load distributions and aerodynamic coefficients are obtained. Using the developed practical work equations, and considering only the aerodynamic load component, the practical work required for a given change in lift is compared between different control surface arrangements. For single control surface cases, it is found that a quadratic (morphing) trailing edge flap requires less practical work than a linear flap of the same size. As the angle of attack at which the change in lift occurs increases, the benefit of the quadratic flap becomes greater. For multiple control surface cases, it is necessary to determine the set of control deflections that require the minimum practical work for a given change in lift. For small values of the initial angle of attack, it is found that a two-segment quadratic trailing edge flap (MTE) requires more work than a two-segment linear flap (TETAB). But, above a small value of angle of attack, the MTE case becomes superior to the TETAB case. Similar results are found when a 1-DOF static aeroelastic model is included in the calculation. The minimum work control deflections for the aeroelastic cases are shown to be strongly dependent on the dynamic pressure.

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