An Assessment of the Use of Low-Order Panel Methods for the Calculation of Supersonic Flows,
ROYAL AIRCRAFT ESTABLISHMENT FARNBOROUGH (ENGLAND) AERODYNAMICS DEPT
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Three low order panel methods developed for the analysis of supersonic flows have been used to make calculations for a number of test configurations, with the aim of establishing the range of problems for which this class of computational method yields adequate solutions. The programs investigated were the Woodward USSAEROC program, the related NLRAERO program, and the British Aerospace Warton supersonic panel program. Results obtained using these programs have been evaluated against theoretical and experimental data for a number of test cases covering wing alone, body alone and wing body geometries. It is concluded that low-order panel methods can provide adequate solutions for supersonic flows about wings, bodies and wing body combinations, provided the assumptions implicit in the linearised potential flow model are not violated. Examples show that the prediction of lift and pitching moment curve slopes for quite complex configurations may be acceptable, but that the detailed pressure distributions are not always predicted satisfactorily. In particular, serious problems are encountered in calculating the flow about wings with rounded supersonic leading edges due to the linearised flow model which is used.