Development and Validation of Fluid-Structure Interaction in Aircraft Crashworthiness Studies
Satterwhite, Matthew Ryan
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Current Federal Aviation Regulations require costly and time consuming crashworthiness testing to certify aircraft. These tests are only capable of a limited assessment of progressive damage and all crash configurations and scenarios cannot be physically evaluated. Advancements in technology have led to accurate and effective developments in numerical modeling that have the possibility of replacing these rigorous physical experiments. Through finite element analysis, an in-depth investigation of an aircraft equipped with a fabricated composite undercarriage was evaluated during water ditching. The severe impact of aircraft ditching is dynamic and nonlinear in nature; the goal of this work to develop a methodology that not only captures the structural response of the aircraft, but also the fluidic behavior of the water. Fundamental studies were first conducted on a well-researched fluid-solid interaction problem, the water entry of a wedge. Typical modeling strategies did not capture the desired detail of the event. An advanced meshing scheme combining meshed and meshless Lagrangian techniques was developed and multiple wedge angles were tested and compared to analytic and qualitative results. The meshing technique proved valid, as the difficult to model phenomena of splashing was captured and the maximum impact force was within five percent of analytical calculations for the 20[BULLET] and 30[BULLET] deadrise wedge. Physical small scale aircraft ditching experiments were then performed with an innovative testing platform capable of producing varied aircraft approach configurations. The model was outfitted with an instrumented composite undercarriage to record data throughout the impact while a high-speed camera recorded the event. Numerical simulations of the model aircraft were then compared to experimental results with a strong correlation. This methodology was then ultimately tested on a deformable model of a fuselage section of a full-size aircraft.
- Masters Theses