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Erwin Gowree

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Influence of flow transition on the perfomance of Micro Air Vehicles

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles have encouraged us to rethink the way conventional
aerodynamic design is conducted. The low speed, size of aerodynamics
surfaces, lifting or propulsive, and altitude of operation reduces
significantly the Reynolds number (Re) regime at which they operate. On the
other hand, Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) are subject to high turbulence
intensity levels due to perturbed atmospheric conditions in the urban
environment. In this low Re (10E3-10E5) and high turbulence intensity
regime, the behaviour of the flow over the aerodynamic surface is more
complex to predict although it has been hardly addressed by the scientific
community so far. In a laminar state, the flow is more prone to separate
causing considerable deterioration in performance, stability of the overall
vehicle or in worst case scenarios with more severe consequences such as
massive stall or control loss. In a turbulent state the boundary layer (BL)
is more resilient to separation, therefore it is important to predict when
the flow will transition.

This doctoral campaign aims at assessing the transition prediction
capability as applied to MAVs, including fixed-wing and rotary-wing
aerodynamics subjected to the surface curvature and roughness, the
turbulence characteristic of the ambient region of operation and background
noise. Wind tunnel experiments will be conducted with varying turbulence
intensities and numerical methods will be assessed based on the experimental
findings. Candidate should have previous experience in wind tunnel testing
and a solid foundation in fundamental fluid mechanics or aerodynamics.
Previous experience in conducting numerical simulation using commercial or
in-house codes will be appreciated.

This PhD is funded by ISAE-SUPAERO (DGA) and ONERA, it will be under the
supervision of Profs Jean-Marc Moschetta and Erwin Gowree at ISAE-SUPAERO
and Dr Gregory Delattre at ONERA, Toulouse.

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