Optimization of Flight Time and Distance Travelled of a Styrofoam Glider
Editor: Kovacevic, Ahmed, Ion, William, McMahon, Chris, Buck, Lyndon and Hogarth, Peter
Author: Platanitis, George; Pop-Iliev, Remon
Section: Design Methodology and Education 2
One of the opportunities given to third-year students enrolled in the Computer-Aided Design course at UOIT is to utilize design of experiments and design optimization techniques to determine optimal parameter settings for best performance of an artifact. In previous offerings of the CAD course, students determined optimal designs of paper helicopters that would optimize flight time, while adhering to various design constraints. In practice, though, more performance dimensions should be explored for an optimal design. This is particularly true with the design of unmanned air vehicles, which are required to have optimal range (aerodynamic efficiency for higher flight speeds), as well as optimal endurance (ability to stay aloft for extended periods of time, while operating at low speeds and low power). This paper proposes a new assignment that could be used in future generations of the course, whereby students construct gliders out of ordinary material (Styrofoam, cardboard, etc.), and determine a wing design around a limited number of parameters that would allow the glider to fly as far as possible, as well as being capable of staying in the air as long as possible. With the assistance of CAD software (NX7.5), students can design the various components of the glider, including the various wings to be used for the experiment, and use these designs as patterns to be cut out of the said construction material. Students will conduct flight test experiments for various combinations of design parameters, and then use analysis techniques (i.e., Taguchi methods) to determine the optimal wing design of the glider.