Experimental and numerical investigations of a 2D aeroelastic airfoil encountering a gust in transonic conditions


In order to make substantial progress in reducing the environmental impact of aircraft, a key technology is the reduction of aircraft weight. This challenge requires the development and the assessment of new technologies and methodologies of load prediction and control. To achieve the investigation of the specific case of gust load, ONERA defined a dedicated research program based on both wind tunnel test campaigns and high-fidelity simulations. To reach the experimental objectives, a set-up was designed, manufactured, and implemented within the ONERA S3Ch transonic wind tunnel facility. The first component, called gust generator, consists of two oscillating airfoils installed upstream of the wind tunnel test section and allows to produce air flow deflections. The second component, the test model, is a two degrees-of-freedom aeroelastic model of a supercritical airfoil. A test campaign has been performed leading to the generation of databases for high-fidelity tools validation. These databases have been used in order to assess the capabilities of the elsA code (ONERA-Airbus-Safran property) using its aeroelastic module and a gust model based on the field velocity method. A validation process has been defined to move from experimental results obtained in the wind tunnel with wall boundaries to industrial modeling computed with farfield boundaries. The full process was applied to a transonic case with sine gust excitation signals.

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A part of the research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Program (FP7/2007–2013) for the Clean Sky Joint Technology Initiative under Grant agreement CSJU-GAM-SFWA-2008-001. The numerical studies presented in this paper have been partially funded by Airbus, Safran, and ONERA which are co-owners of the software elsA.

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Correspondence to Fabien Huvelin.

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Huvelin, F., Lepage, A. & Dequand, S. Experimental and numerical investigations of a 2D aeroelastic airfoil encountering a gust in transonic conditions. CEAS Aeronaut J 10, 1101–1120 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13272-018-00358-x

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  • Aeroelasticity
  • Wind tunnel test
  • CFD
  • Gust response
  • Unsteady coupled simulations