In the recent years, there has been a lot of interest in developing hybrid airships as aerial platforms for various applications because of their several advantageous features. This paper presents a multi-disciplinary design optimization based methodology for an airship with a tri-lobed envelope. The proposed methodology involves five disciplines, viz., Geometry, Environment, Energy, Aerodynamics and Structures. To reduce computational complexity involved in evaluating the aerodynamic characteristics of the tri-lobed envelope, a Kriging-based surrogate model was developed to estimate the envelope drag coefficient and coupled to the optimization framework to achieve the optimal solutions for different operating conditions. The surrogate model predicts the drag coefficient of the tri-lobed envelope with less than ±3% error with respect to the results obtained through CFD. Since the problem follows a multi-disciplinary design approach, a composite objective function is formulated based on volume of the envelope, area of the solar array, and total mass of the airship, which isminimized using Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) Algorithm. This study reveals that for meeting the same mission requirements, a tri-lobed airship powered by regenerative fuel cells requires half the volume and 33.5% lower solar array area, and has ~46% lower mass compared to the one powered by rechargeable batteries.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Nuclear Energy and Engineering
- Fuel Technology
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology