TL;DR: In this article , an aerodynamic and structural computation framework was produced to develop a more efficient aircraft configuration considering a wing with a distributed electric propulsion and its use in different flight missions.
Abstract: In this paper, an aerodynamic and structural computation framework was produced to develop a more efficient aircraft configuration considering a wing with a distributed electric propulsion and its use in different flight missions. For that reason, a model of a regional airplane was used as a case study. The considered model was a nine-seat light airplane with a cruise speed of 500 km/h at an altitude 9000 m. The design of the distributed system is introduced, then the aerodynamic and structural aspects of the new wing with distributed electric propulsion system are calculated, and finally flight performances are calculated for the purpose of analysis of the DEP effect. The design of the DEP system aimed at meeting the required landing conditions and the masses of its components, such as the electric motors, the control units and the power source of the DEP system were estimated. Aerodynamic calculations included computations of different wing aspect ratios. These calculations take into account the drag of the existing airplane parts such as fuselage and tail surfaces. A modified lifting-line theory was used as a computational tool for the preliminary study. It was used to calculate the wing drag in cruise regime and to determine the distribution of aerodynamic forces and moments. Next, based on aerodynamic calculations and flight envelope, the basic skeletal parts of the wing were designed and the weight of the wing was calculated. Finally, fuel consumption calculations for different wing sizes were made and compared with the original design. The results show that a wing with a 35% reduction in area can reduce fuel consumption by more than 6% while keeping the same overall weight of the aircraft.
TL;DR: In this article , a full-electric commuter aircraft with fuel cells was designed from scratch, and therefore a great effort was spent to design both propellers (for the tip and distributed electric motors) and the wing flap.
Abstract: The need for environmentally responsible solutions in aircraft technology is now considered the priority for global challenges related to the limited supply of traditional fuel sources and the potential global hazards associated with emissions produced by traditional aircraft propulsion systems. Several projects, including research into highly advanced subsonic aircraft concepts to drastically reduce energy or fuel usage, community noise, and emissions associated with aviation, are currently ongoing. One of the proposed propulsion concepts that address European environmental goals is distributed electric propulsion. This paper deals with the detailed aerodynamic analyses of a full-electric commuter aircraft with fuel cells, which expects two primary electric motors at the wing tip and eight other electric motors distributed along the wingspan as secondary power sources. The main objective was the numerical estimation of propulsive effects in terms of lift capabilities at take-off conditions to quantify the possible reduction of take-off field length. However, the aircraft was designed from scratch, and therefore a great effort was spent to design both propellers (for the tip and distributed electric motors) and the wing flap. In this respect, several numerical tests were performed to obtain one of the best possible flap positions. This research work estimated a reduction of about 14% of the take-off field length due to only the propulsive effects. A greater reduction of up to 27%, if compared to a reference conventional commuter aircraft, could be achieved thanks to a combined effect of distributed propulsion and a refined design of the Fowler flap. On the contrary, a significant increment of pitching moment was found due to distributed propulsion that may have a non-negligible impact on the aircraft stability, control, and trim drag.