Extending the buffet envelope: step change in data quantity and quality of analysis

Lead Research Organisation: University of Southampton
Department Name: Faculty of Engineering & the Environment

Abstract

Next-generation aircraft are likely to require significant changes in technology to meet ambitious targets on fuel burn, CO2, NOX and noise emissions. Integrated computer-aided engineering is a key enabler to mitigate the risk coming with disruptive change and new design concepts. Moreover, the long-term vision of digital aircraft design and certification, to reduce reliance on wind tunnel and in-flight testing, requires leaps in highest-fidelity flow simulation. We revisit a grand challenge of aircraft aerodynamics using both state-of-the-art industrial and next-generation simulation tools enabled for the identification of coherent flow structures targeting the mechanisms leading to transonic wing shock buffet and constituting the instability, which despite intensive research efforts remains controversial. Shock buffet manifests itself as a flow instability in high-speed flight with detrimental effects on the aircraft performance, economic efficiency, and ultimately passenger safety. A vast amount of literature on flow instability exists, yet analysis of practical flows relevant to the aerospace industry is limited and often confined to simplified cases.
Two key technology demonstrations provide the background to the work. The first is a recent global stability analysis of transonic shock buffet flow with three inhomogeneous spatial directions on an industry-relevant test case using an industry-grade computational fluid dynamics (CFD) solver suite and a Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) aerodynamic model. However, high confidence in industry-standard CFD solutions is given only in a small region in the operating flight envelope near the cruise point due to the unavailability of general models to predict turbulent separated flow. Hence, the second recent key achievement is high Reynolds number direct numerical simulation (DNS) of supercritical transonic aerofoil flow, which also provides access to global modes.
The premise of the work programme is that significant new elements, relying on high-performance computing and advanced numerical flow analysis, are in place to develop next-generation buffet prediction schemes suitable for next-generation transonic wings. We investigate global and resolvent mode analysis across the range of aerodynamic models (from RANS to DNS) applied to low-drag configuration (swept, laminar flow, supercritical) aerofoils and wings, culminating in a modern long-range, wide-body aircraft wing geometry. The practical aim is to develop robust, cost-effective methods to determine the buffet boundary of the wings of the future. Along the way, we will learn more about the physics of shock-induced unsteadiness and the mechanisms leading to shock buffet in the flow around transonic wings.

Publications

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Description Simulations have been run, solving all relevant scales of motion of transonic buffet, considering two different angles of attack. Associated with this project we were successful in being awarded a PRACE project. A report on this work for a non-technical audience can be found at https://www.gauss-centre.eu/results/computational-and-scientific-engineering/article/shock-related-buffeting-in-aeroplanes/
Exploitation Route Data will allow the testing of simpler reduced order models.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine

URL https://www.gauss-centre.eu/results/computational-and-scientific-engineering/article/shock-related-buffeting-in-aeroplanes/