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Design and validation of an all-electric air-vehicle to facilitate sustainable commercial air travel
Group Members
Bogdan Avramuta, Stephen Ellerby, Kynan Fletcher, Caryl Fraiser, Alasdair Gerrard, Mulham Terkaoui
Supervisors
Professor Ole Thomson, Professor Janice Barton, Dr Zhengtong Xie
This project was proposed to design and validate the concept of an all-electric aircraft to increase sustainability of air travel for short-haul flights. Overcoming current performance limitations of electric aircraft was addressed by devising novel methods of weight reduction and high-performance aerodynamic design. The project aim was to design an all-electric aircraft with the ability to carry 10 passengers 560 kilometres (roughly from London to Glasgow). Parameters to define success were calculated from first principle analysis to show a lift to drag ratio of 20 and a battery mass fraction of 40% (including payload). To ensure minimal energy spent through flight, flight trajectory optimisation was employed to reduce total battery mass. The overall aerodynamic design consisted of a box wing and lifting fuselage to increase the overall aircraft efficiency. These were subsequently analysed using simulations with a turbulence model and optimised using adjoint methods. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) validation was performed using wind tunnel and results showed a strong agreement to CFD predictions. Structural design included novel isogrid development, composite centre wing box structures amongst closed section wing and supporting structures. Validation of structures was carried out using finite element analysis and showed that the structure would not fail under normal operating conditions. Structurally, the aircraft total mass was predicted to be 7.6 tonnes with batteries 3.2 tonnes giving battery mass fraction 42%. This facilitated a total aircraft range of 500km, only 60km short of the target.
Concept aircraft.
Sectional view of aircraft.
Aircraft structural design.