A Conceptual Design Methodology for Predicting the Aerodynamics of Upper Surface Blowing on Airfoils and Wings

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Virginia Tech

One of the most promising powered-lift concepts is Upper Surface Blowing (USB), where the engines are placed above the wing and the engine exhaust jet becomes attached to the upper surface. The jet thrust can then be vectored by use of the trailing edge curvature since the jet flow tends to remain attached by the "Coanda Effect". Wind tunnel and flight-testing have shown USB aircraft to be capable of producing maximum lift coefficients near 10. They have the additional benefit of shielding the engine noise above the wing and away from the ground.

Given the potential gains from USB aircraft, one would expect that conceptual design methods exist for their development. This is not the case however. While relatively complex solutions are available, there is currently no adequate low-fidelity methodology for the conceptual and preliminary design of USB or USB/distributed propulsion aircraft. The focus of the current work is to provide such a methodology for conceptual design of USB aircraft. Based on limited experimental data, the new methodology is shown to compare well with wind tunnel data.

In this thesis we have described the new approach, correlated it with available 2-D data, and presented comparisons of our predictions with published USB data and an existing non-linear vortex lattice method. The current approach has been shown to produce good results over a broad range of propulsion system parameters, wing geometries, and flap deflections. In addition, the semi-analytical nature of the methodology will lend itself well to aircraft design programs/optimizers such as ACSYNT. These factors make the current method a useful tool for the design of USB and USB/distributed propulsion aircraft.

aerodynamics, conceptual design, USB, upper surface blowing