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Seeking Reality in the Future of Aeronautical Simulation

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The ability to simulate airflow over aircraft that look different from what we see today is a key challenge for aeronautical innovators.

NASA researchers are using computer simulation software to improve airliner design.

Credit: Shishir Pandya/NASA

U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) researchers are using computer simulation software to help design future airliners that will cut fuel consumption, reduce polluting emissions, and fly more quietly.

They are using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) computer simulations to understand how different variables affect airflow during all phases of flight. "If we can get more physics into the models we're using with our CFD, we'll have a more general tool that can attack not only off-design conditions of conventional tube and wing aircraft, but it also will do better with the different looking configurations of the future," says NASA's Mike Rogers. The researchers will use data from wind-tunnel testing of the new aircraft designs to help refine the CFD algorithms.

The researchers want to improve the entire suite of testing capabilities to provide a more effective and comprehensive toolbox for designers to use to advance the state of the art more quickly. "We need to continually assess how well our tools are working so we know whether they are adequate or not," Rogers says.

From NASA News
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