In this article, the growth of aerodynamic efficiency and the growth of the wing structural stress is studied for DLR-F4 typical transport aircraft wing-body, after installing classical Whitcomb winglets of different configurations and a delta wingtip fence. A new-concept curved-span winglet was mathematically developed and approved through Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and static structural experiments, revealing the interaction of sub- and transonic air flow dynamics with the wingtip device geometry. The design space of the winglet geometry was explored briefly, and an evaluation of the lift-to-drag ratio increment depending on various winglet input parameters was performed. In particular, the winglet cant angle effect on lift and drag was thoroughly analyzed at various flow regimes and angles of attack, revealing an ambiguity and a conflicting character of results between highly canted winglets and nearly vertical ones. As a result of cant angle impact analysis, a curved winglet concept is suggested and mathematically parametrized, that could provide an innovative solution, alternative to a morphing winglet, but much simpler with a fixed structure. In conclusion, a multidisciplinary winglet efficiency estimation criterion is suggested for comparing the aerodynamic efficiency of different wingtip devices with respect to their structural weight penalty in real flight conditions.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited