Aeroelastic Characteristics of a Rapid Prototype Multi-Material Wind Tunnel Model of a Mechanically Deployable Aerodynamic Decelerator
Abstract: Scaled wind
tunnel models are necessary for the development of aircraft and spacecraft to simulate
aerodynamic behavior. This allows for testing multiple iterations of a design before
more expensive full-scale aircraft and spacecraft are built. However, the cost of
building wind tunnel models can still be high because they normally require costly
subtractive manufacturing processes, ... read moresuch as machining, which can be time consuming and
laborious due to the complex surfaces of aerodynamic models. Rapid prototyping, commonly
known as 3D printing, can be utilized to save on wind tunnel model manufacturing costs.
A rapid prototype multi-material wind tunnel model was manufactured for this thesis to
investigate the possibility of using PolyJet 3D printing to create a model that exhibits
aeroelastic behavior. The model is of NASA's Adaptable Deployable entry and Placement
(ADEPT) aerodynamic decelerator, used to decelerate a spacecraft during reentry into a
planet's atmosphere. It is a 60° cone with a spherically blunted nose that consists
of a 12 flexible panels supported by a rigid structure of nose, ribs, and rim. The novel
rapid prototype multi-material model was instrumented and tested in two flow conditions.
Quantitative comparisons were made of the average forces and dynamic forces on the
model, demonstrating that the model matched expected behavior for average drag, but not
Strouhal number, indicating that there was no aeroelastic behavior in this particular
case. It was also noted that the dynamic properties (e.g., resonant frequency)
associated with the mounting scheme are very important and may dominate the measured
Thesis (M.S.)--Tufts University, 2016.
Submitted to the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering.
Advisor: Robert White.
Committee: Chris Rogers, and Kurtis Long.
Keywords: Mechanical engineering, and Aerospace engineering.read less