Award Date

December 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering (MSE)


Mechanical Engineering

First Committee Member

Yi-Tung Chen

Second Committee Member

Kwang Kim

Third Committee Member

Jeremy Cho

Fourth Committee Member

Jichun Li

Number of Pages



Shape Changing Airfoils (SCAs) are a developing technology with potential aircraft applications. Leading aerospace corporations are actively researching SCA capabilities. The necessity for this technology stems from the requirement of control surfaces for safe aircraft control. However, the process of testing and determining optimal SCA designs can be costly and time-consuming. While methodologies exist, they often require specific scenario examples and lack a standard approach. To address this issue, a standardized methodology is needed that can be applied to various applications and scenarios. This methodology consists of computational/experimentally produced data for airfoils, a subjective and strategic scoring equation, an algorithmic script for comparing large quantities of different airfoils, and simulations to demonstrate improvement. The conceptual scoring equation is the key element in this methodology to adapt the obtained solutions to different scenarios. This methodology was successfully created as supported by the results produced when applied to a stalling aircraft scenario. Applying this methodology to the stalling scenario involved developing multiple scoring functions based on simple efficiency ratios tailored towards desired performance metrics for stalling aircraft and then utilizing computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations to compare results. Six total scoring equations were developed and utilized in this study. With the starting airfoil selected as the NACA M6 airfoil, and when comparing with the 103 different airfoils present in the dataset, the NACA 6412 airfoil achieved the highest score for 3 of the 6 scoring equations. The NACA CYH obtained the highest score for 2 of the equations and the NACA 65206 airfoil obtained the high score for the last equation. Next, a commercial CFD software, Ansys Fluent, was utilized to calculate and compare which high-scoring airfoil would perform the best in a low mach stalling scenario. The proposed methodology shows promise for mitigating the dangers of aircraft stalls under these conditions. The simulations, besides for the NACA 65206 airfoil, consistently aligned with the data and decisions generated using XFOIL and the scoring script. Notably, the NACA 6412 airfoil excelled in terms of lift, nearly doubling the lift values of the initial airfoil, surpassing all other scoring equations. While the physical characteristics of the airfoils, such as swept tails and thinner bodies, may have influenced the results, further analysis is required to isolate these geometrical effects. The superiority of the NACA 6412 airfoil prompted adjustments to the scoring script, focusing exclusively on more accurate scoring equations. This refinement allows for the incorporation of a larger quantity of airfoils into the algorithm, promising even more accurate results in future assessments.

Controlled Subject

Aerofoils; Aeronautics--Safety measures


Aerodynamics and Fluid Mechanics | Aerospace Engineering | Mechanical Engineering

File Format


File Size

3790 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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