Presenter: Dr. Amir Kolaei, Ryerson Applied Aerodynamics Laboratory of Flight (RAALF), Department of Aerospace Engineering, Ryerson University
Topic: A Fenics-Based Model for Prediction of Boundary Layer Transition in Low-Speed Aerodynamic Flows
The accurate prediction of transition from laminar to turbulent flows plays an important role in aerodynamics analysis of aircraft, especially of smaller sizes, for example drones. Wing areas with laminar flow experience significantly lower aerodynamic drag compared to areas with fully turbulent flow. Laminar flow may cover a significant part of rotor blades of small multirotor vehicles that operate in low-Reynolds number regimes, which can considerably reduce the required power and extend their flight time significantly. In order to evaluate such improvements in aerodynamic efficiency, one must be able to accurately predict the onset and extent of the boundary layer transition. The commonly applied turbulence models, however, consider a fully turbulent flow over the entire surface area and thereby over predict profile drag. The present study aims at developing a finite element model to analyze low-Reynolds number flows using the open-source FEniCS framework that has been fundamentally designed with parallel processing in mind. The present model is based on a Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) approach, where the incompressible form of the Navier-Stokes equations are solved together with a three-equation eddy-viscosity model. The validity of the FEniCS model is examined by comparing the prediction results with experimental findings that are reported for transitional boundary layers of a flat plate and an airfoil. These comparisons suggest promising potential of the proposed FEniCS model for the effective prediction of boundary layer transition in various flows and will subsequently be employed for evaluating aerodynamic characteristics of rotors that are typically used for small unmanned aircraft.
About Dr. Kolaei
Amir Kolaei received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Concordia University. He is currently a SOSCIP postdoctoral fellow at Aerospace Engineering Department at Ryerson University.
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