In recent years, hybrid airships have been identified as promising alternatives for high altitude, long endurance missions. In this study, a design methodology to study the feasibility of a winged hybrid airship powered by solar energy is presented. The proposed methodology involves five disciplines of the airship, viz., geometry, aerodynamics, environment, energy and structures that have been coupled in order to develop an optimum design which incorporates the maximum advantages of the modules. A total of fourteen design variables have been finalized, which are required to carry out the sizing of the envelope, wing, and solar panel layout. The Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) algorithm is implemented to carry out optimization of a user-defined fitness function for given user-defined operating conditions. The optimization study is subjected to general constraints of weight balance and energy balance. Optimal solutions have been obtained for two different configurations. These are—conventional airship and winged hybrid airship. The solutions have been obtained for four different days of the year, in order to analyse any potential benefits and pitfalls of the two configurations for the varying conditions over the course of one year. The results obtained are generally found to be in excellent agreement with the imposed constraints. The winged hybrid airship configuration was found to have offered no significant benefits in comparison to the conventional configuration. The analysis of the key parameters and data values readily supports this conclusion.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Aerospace Engineering