Armstrong Flight and Research Center (AFRC)
Aug. 2020 – Dec. 2020
Goals of your project/s:
The Revolutionary Vertical Lift Technology project works on studying, analyzing, and improving the behavior of Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) in different configurations. The data will support the future projects like the urban air mobility and advanced air mobility. I have been working on some tools that work on engine modeling as well as preliminary design and simulation for different VTOL configurations. I work on integrating and linking the tools together for better analysis.
Describe what you did during the internship.
The RVLT uses multiple tools for design and analysis of the rotorcraft based on multiple inputs of the rotorcraft. In my internship, I have focused on using both the propulsion modeling and analysis tools as well as the preliminary system design tools and finally connecting and integrating both softwares together. Starting with the propulsion tool, I would perform analysis on a turbo engine model with respect to different variables (altitude, Mach number, temperature, etc.) and run the model through multiple iterations through the software. Once the engine model is analyzed, it will then be transferred as an input for a rotorcraft in the design and simulation tool. Transferring the analysis of a turbo engine model could prove to be a difficult process, so I had to use an extra step to translate that data through a new added tool to scale the engine into parameters. The translated parameters were then used in the simulation of the selected rotorcraft and proved to be running well.
Did you achieve your goals? What were the results and conclusions?
Yes, I was able to achieve my goal. My goal was to connect the analyzed engine as an input to the design tool. I was able to achieve that by confirming the parameters of the turbo engine model and make sure it was scaled and translated well. Initially, I had a very hard time getting the data to scale well, and I would see some ridiculous graphs which usually mean that my analysis would be completely wrong. It was not after many tires of changing the data and trying different analysis, that I had finally scaled the engine data well. I am truly lucky that I only started getting the good results when it was close to the end of the internship.
Describe positive lessons learned from this experience:
I learned the logic of one programming language could be enough. I had to use and learn the syntax of multiple programs that each is written in different coding languages like C, C++, Fortran 95, python and batch scripts. I have also learned that searching for information could be tough, but you will reach it by continuously looking for the right people to ask them or going through the previous research papers. Lastly, once it starts to work, start breaking it again to find how robust the program is. I found out that most of my previous tries would have worked if the main problem had been fixed.
Describe negative lessons learned from this experience:
I had a hard time working on some tools, so I now understand the importance of documentation, especially for NASA softwares. They tend to have limited resources when it comes to googling or looking for YouTube tutorials. Creating documents and using tutorials is essential to ease in the transition for someone new with the softwares. Another takeaway is that during this pandemic, I wanted to be working at the center in order to better communicate and meet everyone in person. I also wanted to see all the amazing projects and planes at Armstrong center.