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Aerodynamic and Structural Analysis Codes

Physics-based analysis plays a key underpinning role in all engineering design; without analysis, design moves into the realm of art and guesswork. Since air vehicle design requires a great deal of analysis, such calculations are now universally carried out using computers, ranging from simple spreadsheets to full Navier-Stokes codes for CFD. At Southampton we have identified four main analysis domains that need to be addressed:

  • 1. Aerodynamics. Essentially the calculation of lift, drag, and pitching moment coefficients, the capabilities of control surfaces and assessment of basic flight stability;
  • 2. Structures. The assessment of stresses and deflections in all parts of the UAV for comparison with acceptable limits so as to ensure structural integrity;
  • 3. Weights. The prediction of all-up weight and center of mass at takeoff, which is critical to assessing aircraft performance;
  • 4. Costs. Full costing of all designs including through-life costs to allow meaningful comparisons of design choices.
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