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Kyle Hord


Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, University of Louisville, 2010-Present
M.Eng, Mechanical Engineering, University of Louisville, 2010  
B.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of Louisville, 2009 
Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

  • Low Speed Flight
  • Flight Mechanics for Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs)
  • Deceleration Systems

Research Summary

Kyle first started in the lab in the Summer of 2009. Between 2009 and 2010, he researched the effects of corrugated airfoils, normally found on dragonflies, for use on slow flying Micro Air Vehicles. Previous experimental studies on gliding corrugated wings have shown that they produce favorable aerodynamic properties such as delayed stall compared to streamlined wings and flat plates at high Reynolds numbers (Re = 104). In his study, the aerodynamic characteristics of a corrugated airfoil were investigated using computational fluid dynamics at a low Reynolds numbers of 500, 1000, and 2000.

The study showed that at low Reynolds numbers the corrugation does not provide any aerodynamic benefit compared to a flat plate of equivalent thickness. Instead, the corrugated airfoil generated more drag than the flat plate, thus had inferior gliding performance. Structural analysis showed that the wing corrugation can increase the resistance to bending moments on the wing structure with reduced thickness and weight. Therefore it was concluded that a corrugated wing could be used for decreasing the structural weight of the wing, while maintaining structural integrity and comparable lift.

Kyle now works on investigating the flow phenomena involved with the perching maneuver. The maneuver is a simplification of the flapping kinematics used by birds when landing on small target areas, such as fences, or limbs. This maneuver can potentially be applied to MAVs for short-distance landings. The complexity of perch landing has led to a simplification of the kinematics involved. The maneuver can be condensed into a pitch-up problem coupled with a deceleration in the streamwise direction.

Due to the small size of MAVs, the importance of viscosity imposes significant challenges that nullify traditional inviscid aerodynamic theory. To investigate the complex flow phenomena involve, the perching motion and the flow will be solved numerically employing a Navier-Stokes equation solver. A parametric study will be done, varying the pitch, and deceleration rates of the wing to observe the how the aerodynamic forces and moments vary on the wing in different cases. The interaction between the leading and tip vortices will be investigated, as with the evolution of downstream vortex wake.

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