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This special issue is one of a number of activities taking place this year to celebrate the founding of the Royal Aeronautical Society in 1866. The decision to form the Society was taken on 12 January 1866 at a meeting of distinguished people held in London and chaired by the Duke of Argyll. One of those present, James Glaisher, addressed the gathering and it is interesting to revisit an extract from his statement: “The first application of the balloon as a means of ascending into the upper regions of the atmosphere has been almost within the recollection of men now living but with the exception of some of the early experimenters it has scarcely occupied the attention of scientific men, nor has the subject of aeronautics been properly recognised as a distinct branch of science. . .”. The meeting resolved “that it is desirable to form a Society for the purpose of increasing by experiments our knowledge of Aeronautics and for other purposes incidental thereto and that a Society be now formed under the title of the ‘Aeronautical Society of Great Britain’ to be supported by annual subscriptions and donations.”
The 150th anniversary of the Royal Aeronautical Society offers an ideal opportunity to reflect on the spirit of innovation and collaboration fostered by the Society and its members over the past century and a half. Dr Jean Botti, an engineer with 31 patents to his name and Chief Technical Officer at Airbus Group, reflects on key innovation milestones for both Airbus Group and the industry as a whole. He also discusses the benefits of collaboration between the RAeS members and industry, and looks forward to an exciting new era of discovery – from electric flight (e-flight) to ‘smarter skies’ and the future development of new modes of flight which can only be imagined today.
Computational aerodynamics, which complement more expensive empirical approaches, are critical for developing aerospace vehicles. During the past three decades, computational aerodynamics capability has improved remarkably, following advances in computer hardware and algorithm development. However, most of the fundamental computational capability realised in recent applications is derived from earlier advances, where specific gaps in solution procedures have been addressed only incrementally. The present article presents our view of the state of the art in computational aerodynamics and assessment of the issues that drive future aerodynamics and aerospace vehicle development. Requisite capabilities for perceived future needs are discussed, and associated grand challenge problems are presented.
This paper is intended as a general introduction to the requirements for future passenger aircraft design. The needs of the 21st century are addressed to meet the important requirements of the customer airlines as well as those of the general public. In particular, the impact on two traditional major requirements are reviewed, the Design Mission and the operating costs. The effect of aircraft on the environment and the increases in the cost of fuel will have a substantial effect on the way future aircraft are optimised. These demands are summarised before moving on to the basic equations affecting how the aircraft design must respond. Very similar targets driving research work have been set in both Europe and the United States, and some of the new technologies that we can expect to be incorporated are outlined. Finally, a glimpse is given of the possible future aircraft configurations we may see in the skies in response to the new demands.
The past century has witnessed the rise and maturity of the flying machine, starting with the Wright brothers flyer to today’s modern passenger aircrafts and warfighters. At the start of this century, yet another achievement in flying vehicle technology was seen with the launch of the Boeing 787 aircraft, which has a significant portion by weight of polymer matrix fibre composites. This paper, therefore, addresses the effects of the manufacturing process of fibre reinforced polymer matrix composites on mechanical performance. Computations are carried out using the Finite Element (FE) method at the microscale where Representative Volume Elements (RVEs) are analysed with Periodic Boundary Conditions (PBCs). Straight fibre pre-preg-based composites and textile composites are considered. The commercial code ABAQUS is used as the solver for the FE equations, supplemented by user-written subroutines. The transition from a continuum to damage/failure is effected by using the Bažant-Oh crack band model, which preserves mesh objectivity. Results are presented for RVEs that are first subjected to curing and subsequently to mechanical loading. The effect of the fibre packing randomness on the microstructure is examined by considering multifibre RVEs where fibre volume fraction is held constant but with random packing of fibres. Plain weave textile composites are also cured first and then subjected to mechanical loads. The possibility of failure is accommodated throughout the analysis – failure can take place during the curing process even prior to the application of in-service mechanical loads. The analysis shows the differences in both the cured RVE strength and stiffness, when cure-induced damage has and has not been taken into account.
I was honoured to have been selected to deliver the 35th Nikolsky Honorary Lecture. My graduate education at Princeton University owed much to the influence of Alexander A. Nikolsky, the second faculty member appointed to the Princeton Aeronautical Engineering Department in 1943(1). I arrived in 1963, only months after he passed away, but the memory of his presence was still vivid in the minds of his students and colleagues, as well as the professors who introduced me to rotorcraft(2,3). Bob Lynn, Senior Vice President at Bell Helicopter Textron, one of Nikolsky's most illustrious students, recalled the impact of his teaching in the 12th Nikolsky Lecture in 1992(4).
The 150th anniversary of the Royal Aeronautical Society has seen Rolls-Royce become a global player in aerospace and a champion of British industry. Its products vary from the nimble RR300, powering two-seater helicopters, all the way to the 97,000-pound thrust Trent XWB, powering future variants of the Airbus A350, and the MT30, which provides the propulsion for the Royal Navy's new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers. It has built this range of products derived from the vision and innovation of its talented engineers, spurred on by the guiding principles provided by Henry Royce. This has seen it through times of war, hardship, bankruptcy and fierce competition to emerge as the leading manufacturer of aircraft engines and a provider of power across land and sea. Alongside its products, it has developed pioneering services to support its customers, analysing real-time data to improve the reliability and efficiency of its engines. In keeping with its tradition of innovation, the company is continuing to develop new products and services for the next generation of power systems for land, sea and air.
The general picture of research in active flow control for aircraft applications has been continuously changing over the last 20 years. Researchers can now obtain design sensitivities by using numerical flow simulations, and new optical experimental methods can be used that measure flow field data non-intrusively in planes and volumes. These methodological advances enabled significant knowledge increase. The present paper reviews recent progress in active flow control by steady blowing. It appears that two strategies of blowing deserve particular attention. The first uses tangential blowing of thin wall jets to overcome the adverse pressure gradients from locally very large flow turning rates. This approach exploits the potentials of the Coanda effect. The second strategy employs oblique blowing of air jets designed to generate longitudinal vortices in the boundary layer. The longitudinal vortices provide convective redistribution of momentum in the boundary layer, and they also enhance turbulent momentum transport. The sensitivities of these two approaches as observed in fundamental flow investigations and in applications to high-lift aerofoils are described and suited efficiency parameters of blowing are analysed.
In the last century and a half, space has moved from the realm of fantasy to everyday reality. In parallel, the way space has been regarded by the person in the street and the ideas of what access to space might be used for have evolved extraordinarily.
This article examines the increasingly crucial role played by Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) in the analysis, design, certification, and support of aerospace products. The status of CFD is described, and we identify opportunities for CFD to have a more substantial impact. The challenges facing CFD are also discussed, primarily in terms of numerical solution, computing power, and physical modelling. We believe the community must find a balance between enthusiasm and rigor. Besides becoming faster and more affordable by exploiting higher computing power, CFD needs to become more reliable, more reproducible across users, and better understood and integrated with other disciplines and engineering processes. Uncertainty quantification is universally considered as a major goal, but will be slow to take hold. The prospects are good for steady problems with Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) turbulence modelling to be solved accurately and without user intervention within a decade – even for very complex geometries, provided technologies, such as solution adaptation are matured for large three-dimensional problems. On the other hand, current projections for supercomputers show a future rate of growth only half of the rate enjoyed from the 1990s to 2013; true exaflop performance is not close. This will delay pure Large-Eddy Simulation (LES) for aerospace applications with their high Reynolds numbers, but hybrid RANS-LES approaches have great potential. Our expectations for a breakthrough in turbulence, whether within traditional modelling or LES, are low and as a result off-design flow physics including separation will continue to pose a substantial challenge, as will laminar-turbulent transition. We also advocate for much improved user interfaces, providing instant access to rich numerical and physical information as well as warnings over solution quality, and thus naturally training the user.