Aeroelastic phenomena are very important in aircraft development, and all the problems that might occur in this context like flutter must be carefully analysed. That's why we have chosen the Institute of Aeroelasticity of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) to cover these aspects.
The Institute of Aeroelasticity is located at the site Göttingen of DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V.) - the national research establishment for aeronautics and astronautics in Germany - and is long well-known for its theoretical, computational, and experimental work in this interdisciplinary field. The complex static and dynamic interaction of constructions with their surrounding flow is subject of scientific as well as engineering problem solutions. Especially the dangerous flutter phenomenon is investigated in detail by computer simulations, ground vibration and wind tunnel tests. The institute has demonstrated its outstanding practical experience and advanced methodology necessary for evaluating and improving flutter safety in novel developments like the high altitude research aircraft STRATO2C. In recent years the institute contributed substantially to research projects aimed at multidisciplinary and unconventional aircraft design (blended wing-body and three-surface configurations).
The SmartFish project will be supported by the DLR Institute of Aeroelasticity in:
The prototype of SmartFish will be built with a composite structure, using carbon fibre and honeycomb. For the design of the aircraft primary structure we have chosen a parter with a lot of experience in this field: Leichtwerk.
Leichtwerk as a design bureau which is specialised in the design of light aircraft. One of the most appealing projects was the design of eta, the largest sailplane of the world. With a wingspan of 30.9 m the wing has an aspect ratio of over 50, which means that the average chord length of the wing is just 60 cm.
Another strong competence of Leichtwerk is the efficient design of fibre reinforced structures. The range of products spans from giant wind turbine rotor blades to tiny wind tunnel models of aircraft such as the A380. These models have an elastic behaviour similar to their original, so that wind tunnel tests can be performed with a realistic deformation of the aircraft under load.
Leichtwerk will support the SmartFish team with the design of the aircraft primary structure. Structural design is not only challenging from the strength point of view. Together with DLR Göttingen Leichtwerk will ensure that the elasticity of SmartFishs structure will prevent the aircraft from flutter.