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5 Ready-to-Use CFD Simulations for Aircraft Design

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Aerospace is the industry for which engineering simulation was used first, starting a few decades ago. From nanotechnologies and micro-composite materials to futuristic wings profiles, many research projects in aircraft design focus on finding better solutions and bringing them to market faster, reducing costs at the same time.

Using engineering simulation software as part of their development process, aerospace companies and engineers can evaluate different designs early in the development process, thus reducing the number of required physical prototypes.

SimScale brings is the possibility to simulate and test the designs completely in the web browser, giving access to all analysis capabilities and collaboration options. As a cloud-based CAE platform, SimScale makes it possible to perform powerful CFD, FEA or thermal analyses from any device.

Here are a few simulation projects related to the aerospace industry from the SimScale Public Projects library, which engineers can copy and use as templates for their own CFD analyses of different aircraft systems and components.

Aircraft Design Aerodynamics Analysis

This simulation shows the airflow distribution around an aircraft design at low subsonic compressible flow regime. The project was used in the Aerospace Workshop featuring EUROAVIA – Session 3 organized by the SimScale team.

The flow of air around the commercial aircraft model was simulated via the Reynolds Averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) method. The flow conditions were Mach number M = 0.35, Angle of Attack = 2 degrees, Pressure P = 100000 pa and temperature T = 0 degrees Celcius. For turbulence modeling, the k-omega SST model was used with the wall function approach. A ramping of the velocity boundary condition was applied up to the free stream value for better convergence.

If you want to try your own simulation project, see the step-by-step tutorial on how to set up and perform this simulation.

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Velocity streamlines of a landing gear

 Aircraft Landing Gear CFD Analysis 

This aircraft design simulation shows how SimScale can be used for an airflow analysis around an aircraft landing gear. Landing gears are among the most critical components of an aircraft. During takeoff and landing operations, the wheels can cause problems that may affect the security of the plane and passengers.

In this airflow analysis, the Large Eddy Simulation (LES) method was used. The geometry is a simplified version of a common front landing gear configuration for any commercial aircraft. The free stream flow velocity was 35m/s at standard conditions. A ramping of the velocity boundary condition was applied to gradually increase the velocity from a low value to the free stream value for faster convergence. The simulation investigates the instantaneous velocity profiles and the wake vortices. The simulation results give an insight of the flow field in the wake regions.

Optimization of a Wing with CFD Simulation

post-processor-screenshotThe shape and positioning of the wings are what determines the efficiency of an airplane in flight.

This project simulates two designs of aircraft wings and their aerodynamic effects. This project was also a homework exercise for the SimScale Aerospace Workshop – Session 2. This exercise involves simulating the aircraft wing with applied bending and torsional load due to wind pressure.

The task asks to set up 6 different configurations with 3 different models and then compare the results. Its purpose is to see how the deformation and stresses change with each structural optimization of a wing. The figure shows the possible load configurations with the initial model.

To learn more, you can watch and follow the recording of this Aerospace Workshop.

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Velocity field for a wing with winglet

Wingtip Vortices Simulation

Spanwise difference in lift generation creates wingtip vortices. These vortices cause a destabilization and loss of performance in the form of a reduction in lift. This project demonstrated that winglets can be the best solution and an effective measure to reduce the strength of wingtip vortices.

The simulation investigated the velocity fields in two parallel models, for a wing with and without a wingtip attachment. The simulation clearly demonstrated losses of performance in the model without a wingtip attachment, due to the vortices that reduce the lift effect on the wing.

In the second model, wings with winglets generate larger lift than those without, when all other parameters are the same.

Aircraft Cabin Ventilation

The aircraft ventilation system is essential for passengers’ comfort. Here is a project which simulates the airflow inside an aircraft cabin.

ss037-4The CFD analysis shows two cabin configurations and their effect on the airflow pattern. First, it involves a ventilation simulation in an aircraft cabin. To find the better solution, six alternative configurations of inlet and outlet are investigated.

This project was also used in the Aerospace Workshop organized by SimScale in July 2016. The homework task was to set up 6 different configurations by considering various possible configurations of inlet and outlet.

Want to learn more? Watch the recording of the SimScale Aerospace Workshop – Session 1.


Download this case study to learn how to perform a CFD analysis of an aircraft landing gear and similar simulations:

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