V-tailed aircraft to reduce emissions.

Nov 21, 2022 | Current affairs, Featured, Post, Revista Lloseta, Thursday Daily Bulletin, Tradition, Uncategorized

Aircraft tails are usually vertical and centred at the rear, but researchers at the Polytechnic University of Madrid have calculated that a V-shaped configuration reduces nitrogen oxide emissions by almost 2% and CO2 emissions by more than 1%, as well as saving 0.7% in fuel.

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The Conceptual Aircraft and Drone Design research group at the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM) is studying the feasibility of non-conventional aircraft configurations to reduce their environmental impact and move towards more sustainable aviation.

In particular, they have worked with configurations that only affect the tail surfaces and have selected the V-tail configuration as a case study.

The results, published in the journal Aerospace, show fuel savings of just under 1 % (0.7 % to be precise), and reductions in nitrogen oxide emissions of almost 2 % and CO2 emissions of over 1 %.

According to the authors, these data confirm that unconventional configurations, such as this V-configuration, should be considered as part of the future of aviation, and that their potential environmental impact can be analysed with tools such as the ones they have developed.

In order to make the expected growth in the aviation market compatible with the reduction of emissions, a number of strategies are being pursued to make aircraft more efficient.

Among the most promising is exploring the potential benefits of changing the configuration of the aircraft, so far consisting of a high aspect ratio wing, a horizontal stabiliser and a vertical stabiliser at the rear of the fuselage.

Other novel configurations that are less feasible
This line of research includes studies of very novel configurations such as joined-wing (with two diamond-shaped wings), flying wing (with a large fixed-wing without a tail) or box-wing (with closed ‘box’ wings).

The problem with these configurations is that they represent a very drastic change to the aircraft, and manufacturers are not expected to undertake any of these projects in the short term because of their inherent complexity.

Considering unconventional configurations that act only in the tail area of the aircraft means that most of the procedures and techniques currently used by the manufacturers can be exploited.

In order to try to make the acceptance of these new aircraft configurations more viable for manufacturers, the research team of the ETSI Aeronautics and Space of the UPM is working on configurations that do not represent such a disruptive change.

The work carried out by the Aircraft and Drone Conceptual Design group presents both a design procedure for non-conventional tail configurations based on the applicable certification regulations and tools for assessing the impact on fuel consumption and pollutant gas emissions.

In order to undertake this study, a conventional aircraft configuration has been taken as a reference for which a conceptual design of a non-conventional V-tail has been carried out and the potential benefits that could be achieved have been analysed. The results are promising, according to the researchers.

“The most important aspect of the work is the methodology used to achieve the results, as it can be reproduced for many other non-conventional tail configurations and help manufacturers to carry out comparative studies between different configurations to analyse the potential benefits in conceptual design stages,” concludes Alejandro Sánchez Carmona, one of the authors.