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# Glider Design project

## ME 628 Fall 2012

Team A5

Yun Niu
Zhichao Yu
Yilin Zhao
Qian Zhu

Executive Summary .............................................................................................................. 1
Problem Statement ................................................................................................................ 2
Main Report .......................................................................................................................... 3
Design Processes ............................................................................................................... 3
1.Centre of Gravity of the entire plane: ......................................................................... 3
2. Neutral Points of the entire plane: ............................................................................. 4
3. Airfoil and Tail Shape Design: .................................................................................. 5
4. Glide Angle and Glide Speed: ................................................................................... 7
Construction Process ......................................................................................................... 7
Glider Design Results........................................................................................................ 9
Conclusion .......................................................................................................................... 10
References ........................................................................................................................... 11
Appendix ................................................................................................................................ i
Material Selection .............................................................................................................. i
Rough Dimensions: ............................................................................................................ i
Pictures: .............................................................................................................................ii

Executive Summary
In this project, our goal is to build up a glider based on the fundamental knowledge
learned in ME628 class. The glider is expected to fly up to 200 feet from an approximate 18 feet
elevation above the ground level with an unindicted weight.
Based on the requirement of payload and limit of dimensions, we calculated the
parameters of the glider through our calculations of central of gravity of the entire glider, glide
angle and speed. According to the UIUC Airfoil Coordinates Database, we selected the NACA
2408 and NACA 0008 as the model of airfoil and vertical tail, respectively.
After completing the calculations and design, we started working on the shape of the
gilder. We purchased the materials around stores in Manhattan. Our main materials are
Styrofoam, balsa and soft wood beam. Also, we simulated the payload by using some play-doh,
because it is convenient to change size and weight to fit our box of payload. After tested with
few different weight of payload, we found that our glider flies pretty stable for carry 5 oz.
payload or less, but it became unstable after we increase the payload weight. After we change the
location of box, our glider flies pretty stable for carrying weight range from 4 oz. to 12 oz.
On Nov 12th, we tested our glider in Weber Hall. For three times testing, our glider
flying results are 37ft, 10ft, and 44ft. After comparing other teams results, we thought the
reason for this failure is primly due to the inappropriate weight and position of the airfoil. Our
airfoil had the most weight of the glider, so the head was much heavier than the trailing edge. In
addition, the fuselage was too short compared with the entire length. It leads to a small ratio of
wing and fuselage. Although center of gravity was in front of aerodynamic center, our glider still
did not fly stably.
The final testing results showed our design still had a significant gap from our
expectation. However, through the process of design and this working experience, all team
members have well known about the materials learned from the ME628 class and improved the
capability of practice.

Problem Statement
This final glider design project requires each team to build up their glider prototype. On
the day of testing, we will test its flight performance.
Objectives:

Design a glider which is capable to carry a payload module from the launch position to the end
of the launch field.

## Achieve the maximum payload ratio (payload weight/ empty weight).

Making it to the far wall and being caught at some height B above the ground level is
optimum.
Specification and Constrains:

The distance between the launch and landing position is approximately 200 ft.

The sum of the length, height, and width of the glider must not exceed 150 inches. Nominal total
planform area (entire model, including wing, fuselage and tail) of final glider should around 300
to 500 in2.

The glider must provide for a removable payload. The design of payload should be a rectangular
compartment with dimensions 3.00 long by 2.50 high by 2.50 wide. Each team has to
provide for access to the compartment, so the payload can be added or moved.

The payload weight in range of 4oz. to 12 oz. with a c.g. at the center in the block. Specific
weight will be given on the day of testing.

Any weight except for the payload will be considered to be part of the empty weight of the
glider. If the compartment is not functional, the payload weight will also be considered part of
the empty glider weight as a weight penalty. Only payload may be removed. Minor adjustment is
acceptable only if there is no change of the glider specification features or weight.

There is no active control permitted (i.e., no on-board servos, electronics, or other moving
mechanisms).
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The physical size of the payload module will be identical regardless of the weight.
Launching:

Prototype will be hand-launched from same height and location. The testing location will be in
Weber Arena and approximate 18 feet above the ground level.
Materials:

The instructor will sponsor \$50 to our team on material purchase. Sources of materials and
hardware include Waters True Value Hardware, Midwest Hardware, Home Depot, Hobby
Lobby, etc.

Main Report
In the main report, we will provide our design concept and working process with all
calculations and theories. Then, we will discuss the glide testing and conclude the entire process.

Design Processes
As the maximum dimension limit, 150 in, we decided the dimensions roughly. (See
Appendix)

Stability:
1. Center of Gravity of the entire plane:
As we will be provided 4--12 oz. payload and we dont know the weight before the
testing. So we figured if we build our box right at the c.g. of the plane, no matter how much the
payload is, the position of c.g. wont change.
We decided our c.g at 13in from the nose of the entire plane. The moment equation is
shown as:

## Figure 1: Moments on c.g.

.. = 0
+ 0 = + ,
Where M0 is the extra moment we need to add in front of c.g.
1.8 .

## 1 . + 0 = (8.3 )(1.625 ) + (0.3 )(16 )

M0=16.5 OZ*in, if we add weight at the nose of the plane, m0=16.5 13=0.5 Oz, which is small
enough.
2. Neutral Points of the entire plane:
We want put neutral point behind the center of gravity by 10 to 40 percent of the wing
chord length according to Longitudinal Stability Theory.
In this section, it shows our calculation for lwn:
Following the correlation equations provided above, we calculated:
Sw = (58.5)*(7.5) = 438.75 2
St = (12) * (5.75) = 69 2
X = 14.68
lwn =

X St
(14.68 in) (69 in2 )
=
= 2 in
Sw + St
438.75 2 + 438.75 2

## lwn = 14.624 in from the nose

lwlwn=-1.625 in<0, the plane will be stable as designed.
1.625/7.5=15%
3. Airfoil and Tail Shape Design:

## Figure 2: NACA 2408 Airfoil

This is the shape model of our airfoil. From the UIUC Airfoil Coordinates Database, we
selected the NACA 2408 as the models of wing and tail. The reason we choose it because the
bottom of this shape is flat. Then we can easily put it on top of our box. In addition, the ratio of
chord length and max camber height mattches our foams well.

## Figure 3: Lift coefficient vs. angle of attack for NACA 2408

This is the lift coefficient of NACA2408. From the figure, we observe the ratio turns to
be stable with a 5.00 degree angle of attack. In addition, leading edge of our airfoil tips up a
small angle due to rough surface of the box. Then we decide use CL=0.75 as our lift coefficient.
From the figure, we found in the range from -5.00 degree to approximate 8.00 degree the ratio is
linear. If the angle of attack is out of the range, the ratio will change. That means our lift of
airfoil and tail will not change rapidly if the angle of attack is out of range.

## Figure 4: NACA 0008 Airfoil

Considering the symmetrical configuration of model of NACA 0008 could balance the
airflow on the sides and thin enough, we created the vertical tail as this shape. As a result, the
flow can be separated smoothly.
The design of 3D model is attached in appendix.
4. Glide Angle and Glide Speed:
Ideally,

= 1 ( ) = 5.14 ,

=

( )
=

()
( )2
=
=

2

2( )

## where W=0.3kg*9.8m/s2, =5.14deg, =1.2kg/m3 and S=0.372 m2. Then we calculated

vg=4.46m/s, the glide speed is fast.

Construction Process
On our first meeting at November 15th, we began with brainstorming. Later, we came
with a general project planning and made a material list for our project. After few hours, we
compared some materials from the shops around Manhattan and decided to buy six Styrofoam
sheets, six balsa sheets, one soft wood beam and few tools for our project.
When we were back to school after the thanksgiving break, we got together for the
second meeting. We looked over the project description and requirement, and then preliminarily

estimated the size of glider. As same time, we considered the shape of the wing from the UIUC
Airfoil Coordinates Database, and decided to use NACA 2408.
After glued the Styrofoam together, we made appointment with Christopher James who is
one of leader from the SAE Aero team. We decided to use the hot wire to cut foam on that time.
Unfortunately, because the glue which we used was not easily melted and had less experience,
our first airfoil cutting was unsuccessful. Therefore, we used different type of foam which was
from the shop where we cut airfoil. According to the poor quality of this foam, we glued the
balsa around the wing and taped some rubber belt around the edge.
Our design goal was to add a box in the glider and put payload in this box. The design
process of our box is similar to the process of our mini design. At first, we glued the cut piece of
foam sheets together in front of wood beam, and then we polished the shape of nose to make it as
smooth as possible. During the appointment with Christopher, he also suggested that we can use
rubber band to fix the wing and tail. So we burrowed four holes in the wing body and installed
rods into holes.

## Figure 5: Box and fuselage design

The figure shown above was our box and glider design for our project. The dimensions
for our glider are 32 in length, 2.5 in wide and 3 in height. Once we tied up wing and tail by
using rubber bands, we tried few times fly test inside of engineering building. For testing
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payloads, we bought some play-doh to put in the box because it could be easily change the
weight. After tested with few different weigh of payload, we found that our glider flies pretty
stable for carry 5 oz. payload or less, but it became unstable after we increased the payload
weight. Due to glider unstable situation, we decided to recalculate the c.g. position and aero
dynamic center for our glider; we realized that our front side is heavier than the back side of the
fuselage. We needed to move the c.g. position close to the a.c. position of the wing, so we
changed our box design and moved back under the wing. After we changed box position, our
glider flew almost stable for carrying weight range from 4 oz. to 12 oz. We decided to use this
for our official fly testing. We wanted to improve the design better, so we came up with another
discussion which was trying to reduce our glide weight. Therefore, we took off three slides of
balsa from top side of the wing which can reduce the weight little bit. In additional, we taped the
entire glide to make it to be stronger and smoother of the surface.

## Glider Design Results

Before the official glide testing, we had tested our gliders several times. Our first glider
was stable and flew well with payload less than 5 oz. If we add more weight, the glider turned to
be less stable and dropped fast. We believe the center of gravity is far from the aerodynamic
center of entire glider. This leads to the rapid drop. Our second design can fly better with all
weight than the previous one but stability decreased. We thought the reason was both c.g. and
a.c. were too backward. We had tried to move airfoil and payload compartment forward, but the
glider did not glide as we expected. During the official tests, our glider still started to drop in a
short time. Our glider flew 37 feet longitudinally and flight duration is 2 seconds. On the second
try, our team member did not launch glider properly. The angle he launched must be much
smaller than our glide angle, so the glider only flew for one second and dropped rapidly. Then, it
flipped over and hit the ground heavily. Even though we tried to protect our glider each flight,
the second test almost damaged our horizontal and vertical tails. Although we tried to fix it, it
still not flew as well as we expected in the third time. It only flew 44 feet and 2.5 seconds.
Generally, the official test was not as good as our previous test.

Conclusion
This project required us to design a glider, which was expected to glide as far as 200 feet.
With some design limitation, i.e. 150 inches as maximum total length and size of payload
compartment, we tried to achieve minimum glide angle and maximum glide speed. Based on
theories and processes learned in class, each team had to do some calculations before design.
Then, they might need minor adjustments before the official testing The main goal, we thought,
of this project was to have a properly fixed c.g. before a.c. Due to an indicated payload, a fixed
c.g. would only change gliding performance slightly with any payload weight.
During the process of design, we did lots of calculations and came up several different
designs. At beginning, we devised our prototype by rough assumption. The airfoil planform area
was larger than the official one, and fuselage was longer. Then, we found we can only cut airfoil
within 36 inches in the aero-shop. As a result, we shortened the fuselage and decreased the
planform area. Before each test, we would locate c.g. and do some minor adjustments.
From the official glide test, also compared with other designs, we come up some ideas
where we can improve and why our flight launched steeply. First of all, we found our design size
was a little smaller than most of other designs. Our fuselage was too short. This leads to a small
ratio of wing and fuselage. In addition, our airfoil had the most weight of the entire glider. As a
result, the head was heavier than the trailing edge. Although center of gravity was in front of
aerodynamic center, our glider still did not fly stably. We have not determined the proper reason
why our glider drops fast, but we have some thought. Our airfoil is heavy while the box is too
light, so it is hard to move c.g. forward. Another reason we thought was the position where we
attached our airfoil. Compared to other teams, our airfoil is almost located in the center of glider,
so it is near the tails. Consequently, tails worked less to balance the glider. The further the tail
located from the wing, the easier for the tails to control longitudinal moment. Furthermore, the
area of horizontal tails is too small. This also will decrease the effect of horizontal tails to
balance the glider. The main reason, we thought, leads to flight failure is the design of our airfoil.
Our airfoil is more rigid than the others. We consider this design will work better on a motored
or powered plane. As a rigid airfoil, it cannot supply enough lift and is less flexible.

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References
NACA 2408, Photo, UIUC Airfoil Coordinates Database, 1995-2012 UIUC Applied

Aerodynamics Group

## < http://airfoiltools.com/airfoil/details?airfoil=naca2408-il >

NACA 0008, Photo, UIUC Airfoil Coordinates Database, 1995-2012 UIUC Applied

Aerodynamics Group

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Appendix

Material Selection
Our design team has been allotted a maximum \$50.00 for material purchase. Based on
this sponsor, we chose the appropriate materials from the following four stores:

## The Home Depot:

Glue-Loctite PL300 10 fl. oz. Foam board VOC Adhesive (1 \$3.58)

Hobby Lobby:
Styrofoam - 12" x 36" x 1/2" Styrofoam Sheet

(6 \$4.99)

Wal-Mart:
Tape-Duck Brand Duct Tape (1 \$ 2.98)

Menards:
3/4" x 10" x 48'' Soft Maple Veneer Board (1 \$ 6.99)

## Total Budget: \$43.49

Rough Dimensions:
Weights:
Wing===>

8.3 oz.

Tail===>

0.8 oz.

Box===>

1 oz.

Rod===>

1.6 oz.

Length:

Chord of Wing===>

7.5 in

Chord of Tail===>

6 in

24 in

## Fuselage (rod) ===>

32 in

Width:
Span of the wing===>

58.5 in

12 in

## Box (foam) ===>

3.5 in

Height:
Vertical tail===>

8 in

3.5 in

Pictures:

## Figure 6: Picture of the assembled glider

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This is the first glider we designed. Since we were not satisfied with its foam box, we reconstructed the
body of entire glider.

## Figure 7: Picture of the glider and team members before testing

This picture was taken on official testing day; and the glider was our final design.

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