Power Based Sizing Method for Aircraft Consuming Unconventional Energy
Soban, Danielle Suzanne
Mavris, Dimitri N.
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Traditionally, most fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft have been powered by internal combustion engines that consume hydrocarbon fuels. Only in a few exceptional designs, such as solar powered air-vehicles, are attempts made to apply alternate energy sources. In the past decade, however, the aerospace community has shown a renewed interest in alternate energy sources for revolutionary propulsion systems. In particular, fuel cells are increasingly being considered as an alternate power source for their potential outstanding advantages over the traditional power system. Nevertheless, traditional aircraft sizing methods are not immediately applicable for such unconventional-energy consuming air-vehicle designs. This paper proposes a generalized aircraft sizing formulation that is also applicable to revolutionary aircraft concepts powered by unconventional energy sources and/or have revolutionary propulsion systems. A power based formulation, which allows easy tracking of energy transformation process from the first power generation to the last propulsive power production, is introduced. Lastly, a generalized aircraft weight estimation formulation that is also valid for unconventional-energy consuming propulsion systems is developed.