Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) are generally defined as having an airframe with a span less than 6 inches and a mass less than 100 grams. The design of airframes is currently hindered by the lack of thorough understanding of the flow physics of very small aircrafts flying at low speeds. The study investigates the use of Fluent, a licensed CFD code at RTT, for MAV airframe design. This study is carried out in 4 steps. First, 4 different airfoils are selected and tested in CFD. The next step included the simulation of 3-D flat plates and wing models. An external model 'Bidule' is obtained from the University of Sydney and geometry exported to simulate results. The final step is the creation of a physical MAV model and testing in the wind tunnel. This model is tested at 4 different Reynolds Numbers and results were compared with those obtained from the simulation. Lift and Drag coefficients were compared for all the simulations with experimental results. It was observed that for the MAV airframe lift and drag both compared well for the mid range angle of attack from -2 to 15 . Lift deviation between the MAV airframe simulated and tested were with 10%, and the deviation for drag was within 15% for the MAV airframe. These deviations were different in the case of airfoils and flat plates tested in Fluent. It is thus concluded from this study that the CFD analysis in Fluent can be used to get a close approximation value for the lift and drag coefficients in the mid range angle of attack.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Fluid dynamics--Mathematical models; Aerodynamics; Aerofoils; Flying-machines--Design and construction; Reconnaissance aircraft; Reynolds number
Department, Program, or Center
Mechanical Engineering (KGCOE)
Attari, Taher I., "CFD analysis and validation for solution to micro air vehicle airframes" (2004). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus