Student : Ryan Klock
Sponsor : AFRL
Hypersonic vehicles operate in an extreme flight environment that induces strong fluid, thermal, and structural interactions. To design and evaluate these vehicles, we must have a robust understanding of all driving physical processes and their couplings. Classically, investigation of a vehicle design would be through testing of a physical model in a wind-tunnel or other ground facility. However there are currently few to no facilities capable of generating and maintaining a hypersonic flow at a scale sufficient to perform realistic testing. Thus our main course of investigation must be through numerical simulation. But here too, we find there is a problem. State of the art simulation tools are either high-fidelity single discipline models that are slow and costly to run on large computer clusters, or are a collection of low-fidelity or fundamental models that are closely coupled, yet do not provide trustworthy results due to their simplifying assumptions. Reduced-order models offer a middle-ground by predicting the results of high-fidelity analysis tools at a rate sufficiently fast to allow moderate coupling. Using reduced-order modeling techniques, our lab has developed a simulation framework based on a component partitioning approach that allows vehicle trimming, stability analysis, and time-domain simulation of a growing portfolio of hypersonic vehicle designs and mission types.
An example aeroelastic simulation of the AFRL IC3X High Speed Vehicle with closed-loop control.
Elastic deformation encountered during a maneuver. (1/16th playback speed, deformation exaggerated 100x)