Design and Fabrication of an Inflatable Wing

Nakachwa, Dorcus
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Ashesi University
This project paper explains the design and fabrication of an inflatable wing using a flexible, low cost and easily accessible PVC material. In recent times, several researchers have explored the building of inflatable structures using expensive and high strength materials like Mylar and Kevlar. However, this project scope was contextualized in the East African region where there is need for flexible and low cost Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for applications such as military surveillance. The project focused on using the NACA 4318 airfoil profile because it has a simple geometry that can easily be fabricated. PVC material was used to fabricate the wing because it is flexible,low cost, easily accessible and has a high tensile strength. The wing was sewed, put together using epoxy and later heat sealed. After the wing was fabricated, static load tests and wind tunnel tests were performed on the wing. The wing was also simulated in a software, X –Foil where the lift and drag characteristics of the wing were predicted.The wind tunnel tests and X –Foil simulation showed that the stall angle of the wing was between 20° and 25°.In addition, the two data sets showed a trend as both the lift and drag coefficients increased and decreased with in the same range of angles of attack.
Capstone Project submitted to the Department of Engineering, Ashesi University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering, April 2019
Inflatable structures, stall angle, lift and drag coefficient