In the academic year of 2021-2022 we started supporting student team AeroDelft in their FEM simulations during project Phoenix. This was a very interesting year for the project, being the year of their first hydrogen powered flight. To get insights of this collaboration we now give AeroDelft center stage for their experiences from our collaboration.
AeroDelft is an interdisciplinary student team of more than 50 university students, with a mission to prove and promote liquid hydrogen as an alternative to conventional fuels in aviation. To realise our mission, we are designing and manufacturing two liquid hydrogen-powered aircrafts: The Phoenix Prototype, an unmanned drone that will be the largest unmanned aircraft to fly electrically on liquid hydrogen and The Phoenix Full Scale, a two-seater Sling 4 aircraft which will be the first-ever manned liquid hydrogen-powered aircraft.
For our Full Scale aircraft, we needed to design our own motor mount as we are using an electric motor instead of a combustion engine. This wasn’t an easy task as the motor mount needed to withstand all the forces enacted on it during a flight, while simultaneously keeping the stresses and deflections below a safe threshold.
To obtain this, Finite Element Method (FEM) analyses were performed that numerically solve differential equations. As a student team, we had limited experience with this method, yet we needed to calculate an essential component with it. This is where our partner Femto Engineering came in! Femto Engineering has a plethora of experience in FEM analysis and guided us on how to use this method and solve errors that arose.
|Figure 1: Deflection downward forces||Figure 2: Stressed downward forces|
Our partnership got off to a flying start with a general introduction to Simcenter 3D,one of the programmes Femto Engineering uses for FEM. We also presented our motor mount so the team knew what we were working on.
Due to the covid lockdown we sadly couldn’t work at Femto Engineering’s office, but this was more than made up for by the support we received through email contact. Our questions were answered very swiftly.
At the end of the process, Femto Engineering went through our design to see if the FEM analysis itself was performed correctly. We ran simulations to examine the following load causes: downwards, and upwards forces and the forces working sideways on our motor mount. From the simulations, we got the deflections and stresses on our motor mount, which can be seen in the images.
Figure 3: Close-up maximum stress downward forces
This wasn’t the last time Aerodelft will be using FEM analysis as we will also design a motor mount for a different motor. We might also do an analysis of the mounting structure. By doing FEM analyses we saved time, effort and money as we could use the software to determine if the motor mount design would work instead of building a number of mounts and doing physical tests on them.
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We are Siemens DISW Smart Expert Partner for Simcenter Femap, Simcenter 3D, Simcenter STAR-CCM+ and SDC verifier. Get in touch and let us make FEA and CFD work for you.
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