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A Computational Approach for Optimizing the First Flyer Using COMSOL Multiphysics

A.H. Aziz[1], H. Pourzand[1], A.K. Singh[1]
[1]Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA

COMSOL Multiphysics software was used to structurally optimize the Wright brothers’ flyer. The flyer was drawn in SolidWorks, imported and meshed in COMSOL. COMSOL Solid Mechanics module was used to analyze the flyer. Four of the sixteen struts were removed yet the structural integrity of the flyer was maintained. COMSOL Laminar Flow module was used to compute the aerodynamic forces and moments. A MATLAB script was developed to integrate the equations of motion in the longitudinal direction to obtain the flight time. The main objective of this project is to increase the flight time of the flyer by weight reduction. It was concluded that a three percent weight reduction resulted in a sixteen percent decrease in flight duration.