Design Excellence Award

Magnus Aerofoil

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Design Excellence Award, Group Design Project
Design of innovative high-lift wing devices that incorporate the Magnus effect into a typical aerofoil profile
Group Members
Lloyd Barwood, Sam Ennis, Matt Fancourt, Simon Kirby, Robert Mills, Stephen Paddock

Professor James Scanlan

Throughout the last century, engineers have attempted to harness the lift generating capabilities of the Magnus effect for many different applications, such as in ships, aircraft, wind turbines, and projectiles. The aviation industry has been particularly reluctant to adopt the use of the Magnus effect due to the inherent drawback concerning no lift generation in an event of power loss. In an attempt to address this safety concern, the Magnus Aerofoil Group Design Project aimed to incorporate the lifting potential of the Magnus effect into conventional aerofoil geometry, resulting in a high-lift wing that maintained sufficient aerodynamic performance if power to the rotating section was lost.

Two separate wing designs were designed, manufactured, and tested. The Belt Drive Wing used a conveyor belt like design to rotate the skin around a section of the aerofoil (the first known construction of a wing with a rotating skin). The Rotating Leading Edge Wing used a rotating roller to replace the leading edge of the wing.
The Belt Drive Wing was tested in the R. J. Mitchell Wind Tunnel at the University of Southampton, and produced an average increase of 27% in both coefficient of lift and lift/drag ratio at all positive angles of attack. Testing the belt section at different speeds also confirmed a positive correlation between belt speed and coefficient of lift.

A low cost, modular UAV was designed and constructed as a test bed to help further assess the viability of using the designs as high lift devices. Confirming the observations from wind tunnel testing, the Rotating Leading Edge Wing was tested in flight, and displayed increased lift at constant aircraft attitude. Furthermore, roll control without deflection of conventional ailerons was achieved through differential roller speeds on each wing.

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