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A key design parameter proposal for aerodynamically efficient subsonic blended wing body
Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology  (IF0.975),  Pub Date : 2021-12-02, DOI: 10.1108/aeat-07-2021-0218
Seyhun Durmus

Purpose

Blended wing body (BWB) is a very advantageous design in terms of low fuel consumption, low emission and low noise levels. Because of these advantages, the BWB is a candidate to become the commercial passenger aircraft of the future by providing a paradigm shift in conventional designs. This paper aims to propose a key design parameter for wing sizing of subsonic BWB and a performance parameter for calculating the lift/drag ratio values of BWBs.

Design/methodology/approach

The parameter proposed in the study is based on the square/cube law, that is, the idea that the wetted area is proportional to the power of 2/3 of the weight. Data on the weight, wing area, wingspan, lift-to-drag (L/D) ratio for 19 BWB used in the analyzes were compiled from the published literature and a theoretical methodology was developed to estimate the maximum lift to drag ratio of BWBs. The accuracy of the proposed key design parameter was questioned by comparing the estimated L/Dmax values with the actual values.

Findings

In the current study, it is claimed that the wingspan/(take-off gross weight)(1/3) parameter provides an L/D efficiency coefficient regardless of aircraft size. The proposed key design parameter is useful both for small-scale BWB, that is unmanned aerial vehicles BWB and for large-scale BWB designs. Therefore, the b/Wg(1/3) parameter offers a dimensionless L/D efficiency coefficient for BWB designs of different scales. The wetted aspect ratio explains how low aspect ratio (AR)-BWB designs can compete with high AR-tube-and-wing designs. The key parameter is also useful for getting an idea of good or bad BWB with design and performance data published in the literature. As a result, reducing the blending area and designing a smaller central body are typical features of aerodynamically efficient BWB.

Originality/value

As the role of the square/cube law in the conceptual aircraft design stage has not been sufficiently studied in the literature, the application of this law to BWBs, a new generation of designs, makes the study original. Estimation of the wetted area ratio using only wingspan and gross weight data is an alternative and practical method for assessing the aerodynamic performance of the BWB. According to the model proposed in the current study, reducing the take-off gross weight of the BWBs using lighter building materials and designing with a larger wingspan (b) are the main recommendations for an aerodynamically efficient BWB.