Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Five Reasons for 3D Aerodynamics

Are you in the process of designing a new aircraft, sailboat, or automobile.  3D analysis can play an important part in the design process.  Please consider 5 reasons (not necessarily definitive) to use 3-D aerodynamics early in your design process.

5.  Your design should not look like your analysis & design tool.  If you are too comfortable with 2-D analysis eventually your real-world designs will all resemble airfoil shapes.  A good 3-D design and analysis tool should render and analyze the exciting concepts that resides within your creative mind.  Feel free to throw caution to the wind and reap the rewards of your imagination.

Stallion 3D analysis of a human in the wind.

4.  An airplane is a 3-D object and is usually designed to be stable in flight.  Good stability in flight requires accurate computations of the location of the aircraft neutral point,  the size of the vertical tail (for lateral stability) and effects of the wing's dihedral angles.
Stallion 3D calculations of the pitching moment with respect to
Angle of Attack (see previous blog post).

3.  Like humans, air prefers to use the "extra" third dimension to get out of the path of a speeding car.  If you wish to determine the down-force on a car wing in ground effect, two-dimensional analysis can provide much insight into the airfoil shape and angle of attack.  However, in 3D the air has a tendency to flow around wings of low aspect ratio that are too close to the ground.

MultiElement Airfoils analysis of a NACA 2412 wing in ground effect.

The figure below shows the same airfoil shape used on a wing of aspect ratio two.  The downforce on this wing will be smaller than its 2-D counterpart.  Use 3D aerodynamics to develop new and exciting methods to force the air through wings shapes that will capture the maximum downforce.

Stallion 3D analysis of Aspect Ratio 2 Wing in Ground Effect

2.  3D aerodynamics can be used to model the structure and planforms of wings that decrease drag (such as wing with winglets), increase downforce (end plates) or enhance the integrity of the structure (joined wings). 

Joined wing in Stallion 3D.

1. Several year ago, 3D analysis was costly and difficult. Now, 3D aerodynamics is easy and cost effective.  My laptop computer is fast enough to analyze the 3-D Euler/Navier-Stokes equations (and so is yours).  Take advantage of modern CFD codes such as OpenFoam, Caedium, grid generation software such as Pointwise or  Stallion 3D for a complete aerodynamics conceptual analysis to enhance your creative process.

The yearly lease of Stallion 3D is currently $995 until July 14, 2012.  More information can be found at http://www.hanleyinnovations.com/stallion3d.html

How can you take advantage of 3-D analysis?

Thanks for reading.

References:Stallion 3D:  http://www.hanleyinnovations.com/stallion3d.html
Caedium: http://www.symscape.com/product/caedium
Pointwise: http://www.pointwise.com/
OpenFoam:  http://www.openfoam.com/

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