Computational techniques for aerodynamic simulations of multiple objects emphasizing paratrooper-aircraft separation
Barrera, Enrique V.; Tapia, Richard A.
Doctor of Philosophy thesis
Our target is to develop computational techniques for studying aerodynamic interactions between multiple objects with emphasis on studying the fluid mechanics and dynamics of an object exiting and separating from an aircraft. The object could be a paratrooper jumping out of a transport aircraft or a package of emergency aid dropped from a cargo plane. These are applications with major practical significance, and what I learn and what I develop can make a major impact on this technology area. In all these cases, the computational challenge is to predict the dynamic behavior and path of the object, so that the separation process is safe and effective. This is a very complex problem because it has an unsteady, three-dimensional nature and requires the solution of complex equations that govern the fluid dynamics of the object and the aircraft together, with their relative positions changing in time. The gravitational and aerodynamic forces acting on the object determine its dynamics and path. Sometimes those aerodynamic forces are not properly computed due to excessively thick numerical boundary layers (numerical meaning unphysical and unreal). Methods for reducing this thickness are presented here. The aerodynamic forces heavily depend on the unsteady flow field around the aircraft. The computational tools I am developing are based on the simultaneous solution of the time-dependent Navier-Stokes equations governing the airflow around the aircraft and the separating object, as well as the equations governing the motion of that object. These computational methods include suitable mesh update techniques that are essential for simulations with my core computational technique---the Deforming-Spatial-Domain/Stabilized Space-Time (DSD/SST) formulation. In the research I present here, I focus on developing mesh update methods that help me perform my computations with more numerical accuracy and better computational efficiency. These methods range from remeshing tactics with reduced distortion, to methods reducing the error introduced through projection and, finally, even to a mesh moving alternative---Fluid Object Interaction Subcomputation Technique (FOIST). In FOIST, moving object problems are computed with an approximation technique, without the costs of mesh moving, remeshing, or projection.
Aerospace engineering; Mechanical engineering