Use of COMSOL In Aerodynamic Optimization of the UNLV Solar-Powered Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

L. Dube, W. McElroy, and D. Pepper

University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

We discuss the use of COMSOL Multiphysics 3.4 in the aerodynamic optimization process of the UNLV solarpowered UAV. We also address the use of COMSOL’s Multiphysics ability and how it was used within the scope of the project. In particular we highlight the development of wingtip devices, some of which are non-planar lifting surfaces, and we analyze how these changes affect the airframe structurally. We also investigate the flowfield around the fuselage and particularly at the wing-fuselage junction. Finally, a side study concerning the flow over an airfoil coated with solar cells is introduced.