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Aeronautical Engineering Summer Project

  1. May 13, 2008 #1
    I'm a mechanical engineering student who loves aircraft. I want to work on a project this summer so I'll learn more about aircraft/aeronautical engineering.

    I have a few ideas so far. Here's just a few off the top of my head for now;
    Design, build, and test a jet engine
    Study aircraft icing, maybe perform some wind tunnel tests
    Examine the design of an aircraft wing, and look at designing an improvement.
    Design an aircraft and build and test it in X-Plane

    I know some of those ideas will cost a bit, but if I think it's worth it, I'm willing to spend a little bit. I might be able to get my college to pay for things too, if I can convince them it's worth it.

    I haven't yet covered fluid dynamics in college, but I'll learn as I go along. Something involving aerodynamics definitely appeals to me.

    I'd like to hear your ideas and suggestions.
    Last edited: May 13, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. May 14, 2008 #2
    Hi, designing and building model jet turbines can be hellishly complicated, and expensive. I'd say you definately need an advanced knowledge of solid and fluid mechanics/dynamics to build one. I've looked into it before myself, and found these things out.
  4. May 14, 2008 #3


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    How about design, build, and fly your own custom R/C plane? maybe look into more "exotic" designs like v-tails, delta wings, or even flying wings... There are many interesting things that can be done with propulsion without getting into jet engines also, like pusher fans or ducted fans.

    Could be a good experience in design of aerodynamic surfaces, power/weight ratios, COG, and control systems. You could probably complete the entire thing for $500-1000, including controller and electrical components on the plane itself.
    Last edited: May 14, 2008
  5. May 17, 2008 #4
    This sounds like a winner. I won't be able to look seriously into it for another two weeks.

    I'd really appreciate if someone could recommend good resources and books on aircraft design.

  6. May 22, 2008 #5
    Sorry about the double post, I can't edit my previous one.

    I've just had a quick look for books that could help. I'll be able to start the project properly after next week. I couldn't find any specifically for RC aircraft, but I didn't really expect to. I found a few reputable books;
    Aircraft Design: A Conceptual Approach - Dan Raymer
    Synthesis of Subsonic Airplane Design - Torenbeek
    Series of books on aircraft design by Roskam

    Has anybody used any of these books, and what your opinions on them. I'm looking to buy one of them, so I want to make sure it's worth it.

    Please recommend any other resources/books which you think will be useful.
  7. Jun 6, 2008 #6
    Would be also interisting to use some computerĀ“s help. Something like SolidWorks or ansys. Booth can be really helpful.
  8. Jun 6, 2008 #7


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    There are some good books, and some build log sites on the net that cover the making of a small jet turbine for R/C aircraft, if you have access to some machine tools.

    One idea that i have never tried, but you might look into, stems from an older encyclopedia with a picture diagram of airflow over a stationary tube, the air breaks even as it flows past the tube, but if the tube is set in motion in a turning action, the air, due to friction will divide with the greater amount of flow moving over the tube in the direction of rotation. If the leading edge of a wing had an active turning surface it might produce a benefit to the airfoil design. (just a thought) maybe it has been tried already.:wink:
  9. Jun 7, 2008 #8
    Crawl, walk, then then run. You need to study the fundamentals of fluid dynamics first. I'd say save your time and your money on these projects. You're not going to get anything technical out of it.
  10. Aug 27, 2010 #9
    your ideas are the basic thoughts that crosses every aeronautics student,but its implementation needs more than just basic knowledge on subject.

    but i can help u in designing a wing.If u know software such as catia ,ansys then u won't be needing a wind tunnel and with the idea of cfd u can design almost anything and stimulate everything.I am not familiar with catiaV5 so if u know ay of the cfd stimulating softwares please do mail me.Presently i am working in synthesing a different kind wind energy, a design similar to Savonius and Darrieus vertical axis wind turbines (VAWTs) to increase it efficiency
    ,can u help me with gearing ,bearing attachments with its shaft to generate power
  11. Aug 27, 2010 #10
    hi are u an aeronautical student?
  12. Aug 27, 2010 #11
    You still need a wind tunnel to validate any CFD code. Garbage in = Garbage out. I would recommend you buy a book on fluid mechanics and/or CFD.
  13. Sep 3, 2010 #12
    not good answered
  14. Sep 3, 2010 #13
    I respectfully disagree. if you learn how r/c aircraft is built, how the control systems function, learn how to fly an r/c those skills apply to many other things. simple experiments in changes of design of the model teach significant things if you look, pay attention, and keep good notes. and watching for used r/c stuff is a great way to make your $$$$ go far. just bought one 2 months ago, 6 (or 8 can't remember right now) channel controls, 0.50 engine in a prebuilt kit, with starting stuff, box, and a box of extra goodies, $100

    that would give you all the stuff you need to get started, with a proven fly-able plane, then you can experiment with design changes, or build a new airframe, with the experience of how to fly it already under your belt

    good luck

  15. Sep 3, 2010 #14
    I'm not disagreeing with anything you said above, but the OPs list is not what you just wrote - it is far, far more ambitious. I would put what you just said in the "walk" category (and I think is a good starting point).
  16. Sep 9, 2010 #15
    Mechanical engineers are quite substantially introduced to fluid mechanics through their coursework. If anything, MEs don't cover gas dynamics as extensively as aeros, but they have a very solid knowledge of fluid mechanics and heat transfer.
  17. Nov 9, 2010 #16
    What's the status? Were you able to make the project work? :)
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