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About the project

Large scale wind tunnel turboprop aircraft model integrating morphing devices for
aerodynamic experimental assessment

Existing turboprop configurations are very efficient at cruise speeds up to about Mach 0.65 providing a fuel savings of 10 to 20 percent with respect to equivalent technology turbofan aircrafts. On the other hand, above this speed, the increased drag due to compressibility losses on the propeller blades causes efficiency to fall rapidly. Now, with the use of composite materials and advanced construction techniques, it is possible to construct propeller blades with thinner airfoil sections and more optimum shapes (sweeping the blade leading edge, scimitar geometry, etc) that can operate in high subsonic conditions (up to M=0.8). The integration of turboprop engines into the airframe, and the design of high-lift devices for landing and take-off, presenting some unique aerodynamic challenges in particular when utilizing natural laminar flow wings for additional drag reduction.

Regional mobility is of fundamental importance for regional economic and social development by connecting countries, people and cultures. Here, regional air transportation is of crucial importance by integrating with the global network of air transportation. In this respect, novel turboprop designs will contribute to environmentally friendly and sustainable means of transportation.

WTM-RECYCLE – Large scale wind tunnel turboprop aircraft model integrating morphing devices for aerodynamic experimental assessment – addresses the call JTI-CS2-2016-CFP04-REG-01-05 and will contribute to the knowledge base and technical development for sustainable regional air transportation. The overall objective of the project is to support the development and assessment of new and conceptual versatile aerodynamic control surfaces, and high lift technologies as well as turboprop integration effects. The WTM-RECYCLE project focuses on the modification of a wind tunnel model for delivering aerodynamic data that allows analyzing the aerodynamic performance of innovative control surfaces and high-lift devices including powered propellers. In specific, the objective is to study the effect of morphing devices for drooped wing leading edge, geometry morphed flaps and winglets in landing and take-off configurations including propeller installation effects. The main outcomes are detailed wind-tunnel measurements as well as complementary numerical CFD analyses for studying the flow details and scaling to real conditions.

An existing wind-tunnel model will be redesigned, with the aims of maximizing the use of the existing hardware with consequent reduction of new components and therefore reducing waste production, energy consumption and pollutions emissions within the project itself. A large-scale demonstrator was designed and build in an upfront project. Using it here effectively halves the resources needed to generate results.