Date of Award

12-2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Engineering Science

Major Professor

John F. Muratore

Committee Members

John Muratore, Borja Martos, Peter Solies

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to investigate the execution and validity of various predictive methods used in the design of the aerodynamic pod housing NASA’s Marshall Airborne Polarimetric Imaging Radiometer (MAPIR) on the University of Tennessee Space Institute’s Piper Navajo research aircraft. Potential flow theory and wing theory are both used to analytically predict the lift the MAPIR Pod would generate during flight; skin friction theory, empirical data, and induced drag theory are utilized to analytically predict the pod’s drag. Furthermore, a simplified computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model was also created to approximate the aerodynamic forces acting on the pod. A limited flight test regime was executed to collect data on the actual aerodynamic effects of the MAPIR Pod. Comparison of the various aerodynamic predictions with the experimental results shows that the assumptions made for the analytic and CFD analyses are too simplistic; as a result, the predictions are not valid. These methods are not proven to be inherently flawed, however, and suggestions for future uses and improvements are thus offered.

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