The current work deals with the methodology and results for the numerical modeling, research and implementation of an unconventional propulsion system for an airship with an innovative shape. It is a part of a global study (European Project MAAT) that investigates the possibilities of using the cruiser/feeders concept for passengers and cargo transportation.
Based on an initial research for the airship shape, aerodynamic features at given altitudes, and the propulsion needs, were analyzed by means of numerical simulations for different flow conditions and propulsion concepts. The propulsion system is a set of air-jets, distributed in a circular row around the airship. The air-jets are working with an ambient air that is sucked/blowned from channels positioned in the upper and bottom sides of the airship body. These jets generate thrust to drive the airship in horizontal direction.
The flow is modeled using the RANS equations with an appropriate model for turbulence effects simulation. The environmental conditions are varied in order to be representative of several altitude positions for the airship. Boundary zones that were set are “pressure far field”, “mass flow inlet”, “wall” and “fluid”.
Attention is focused on the performance of the air-jets working with high mass flow rates and low jet flow speeds. They should also work in different combinations to ensure the needed thrust and direction of flight.
The results provide opportunities for future developments of these propulsion concepts for airships.