Aerodynamic Modeling of Ram-Air Parachutes
PI Mark Ricklick
The focus of this project is the investigation in flight performance of ram-air parachutes using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). The modeling of a ram-air parachute presents challenges in the prediction of the in-flight geometry, as there is a strong interaction between the flow field and parachute structure. Methods were developed to approximate the geometry and efficiently model the parachute as a rigid body.
Over the last years, experimental tests of different types of parachutes have been performed in wind tunnel facilities. The capabilities of using CFD provide an alternative way of analyzing parachute performance at a lower cost and time compared to experimental testing.
Nowadays, parachutes have several applications ranging from sports to military guidance delivery missions. The geometric design of the parachute has evolved throughout the past years, making the ram-air design the most efficient in terms of aerodynamic performance. The main reason for this is due to the capability of the ram-air parachute to produce lift and maneuverability compared to its predecessors.
CFD challenges arise in the modeling settings of the geometry. Based on realistic flight conditions, a suitable turbulence model for the modeling of these designs is implemented. The high complexity of the 3D model is handled using appropriate boundary conditions and cleaning geometric tools within the CFD software.
Post-processing of results allows to visualize fluid flow parameters such as velocity profiles, streamlines, and pressure gradients across the structure of the parachute. From these studies, performance values such as lift, drag, and moment coefficients at different angles of attack allow to evaluate the behavior of the parachute at the specified flight conditions. These values are then compared to experimental test results to verify the correct modeling in the software.
06/10/2015 to 12/30/2018