Design Methodology for Developing Concept Independent Rotorcraft Analysis and Design Software
Davis, Joseph Hutson
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Throughout the evolution of rotorcraft design, great advancements have been made in developing performance analysis and sizing tools to assist designers during the preliminary and detailed design phases. However, very few tools exist to assist designers during the conceptual design phase. Most performance analysis tools are very discipline or concept specific, and many are far too cumbersome to use for comparing vastly different concepts in a timely manner. Consequently, many conceptual decisions must be made qualitatively. A need exists to develop a single software tool which is capable of modeling any type of feasible rotorcraft concept using different levels of detail and accuracy in order to assist in the decision making throughout the conceptual and preliminary design phases. This software should have a very intuitive and configurable user interface which allows users of different backgrounds and experience levels to use it, while providing a broad capability of modeling traditional, innovative, and highly complex design concepts. As an illustration, a newly developed Concept Independent Rotorcraft Analysis and Design Software (CIRADS) will be presented to prove the applicability of such software tools. CIRADS is an object oriented application with a Graphical User Interface (GUI) for specifying mission requirements, aircraft configurations, weight component breakdowns, engine performance, and airfoil characteristics. Input files from the GUI are assembled to form analysis and design project files which are processed using algorithms developed in MATLAB but compiled as a stand alone executable and imbedded in the GUI. The performance calculations are based primarily upon a modified momentum theory with empirical correction factors and simplified blade stall models. The ratio of fuel (RF) sizing methodology is used to size the aircraft based on the mission requirements specified by the user. The results of the analysis/design simulations are then displayed in tables and Text Fields in the GUI. The intent for CIRADS is to become a primary conceptual sizing and performance estimation tool for the Georgia Institute of Technology rotorcraft design teams for use in the annual American Helicopter Society Rotorcraft Design Competition.