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Numerical Research on Efficiency Performance of the Propulsion System for an Innovative Airship

[+] Author Affiliations
Galina I. Ilieva, José C. Páscoa

University of Beira Interior, Covilhã, Portugal

Antonio Dumas, Michele Trancossi

University of Modena e Reggio-Emilia, Reggio-Emilia, Italy

Paper No. DETC2012-70927, pp. 573-579; 7 pages
  • ASME 2012 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 6: 1st Biennial International Conference on Dynamics for Design; 14th International Conference on Advanced Vehicle Technologies
  • Chicago, Illinois, USA, August 12–15, 2012
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4505-9
  • Copyright © 2012 by ASME


The current work deals with the methodology and results for the numerical modeling, research and implementation of an unconventional propulsion system for an airship with an innovative shape. It is a part of a global study (European Project MAAT) that investigates the possibilities of using the cruiser/feeders concept for passengers and cargo transportation.

Based on an initial research for the airship shape, aerodynamic features at given altitudes, and the propulsion needs, were analyzed by means of numerical simulations for different flow conditions and propulsion concepts. The propulsion system is a set of air-jets, distributed in a circular row around the airship. The air-jets are working with an ambient air that is sucked/blowned from channels positioned in the upper and bottom sides of the airship body. These jets generate thrust to drive the airship in horizontal direction.

The flow is modeled using the RANS equations with an appropriate model for turbulence effects simulation. The environmental conditions are varied in order to be representative of several altitude positions for the airship. Boundary zones that were set are “pressure far field”, “mass flow inlet”, “wall” and “fluid”.

Attention is focused on the performance of the air-jets working with high mass flow rates and low jet flow speeds. They should also work in different combinations to ensure the needed thrust and direction of flight.

The results provide opportunities for future developments of these propulsion concepts for airships.

Copyright © 2012 by ASME



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