Paper presented to the 10th International Conference on Heat Transfer, Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics, Florida, 14-16 July 2014.
The main objective of this paper is to provide a realistic weight model, based on the physical-mathematical foundations, for the design of the new very large lighter-than-air vehicle, called Multibody Advanced Airship for Transport (MAAT), the ongoing European FP7 project, which is currently under intensive research and development activities. The Modeling and Simulation (M&S) principles, aided with simulations and visualization tools, have been extensively used, as the key enablers to combine, manage and structure such highly complex engineering process, which emerged as a natural integration mechanism and evidence provider of the encountered complexity, successfully encompassing the MAAT multidisciplinary design requirements. The authors experience, in solving the M&S problems, gained within the European R&D projects, was efficiently reused, where the use of such software technologies have been successfully demonstrated, and today, further applied for the new generation transportations solutions, as envisaged by MAAT, especially addressing the best practices in taking advantage of the variety of multi-physics software and their related analysis tools. The MAAT system is envisaged to be composed of two airships: the Cruiser, which stays at a constant altitude of 16 km, travelling horizontally; and the Feeder, which acts like an elevator system connecting the Cruiser to the ground. In this paper, the proposed weight model is similar to the typical one applied in the aircraft design process. The main difference is primarily the airship teardrop shape, which is commonly applied for the currently produced airships. The main challenge is that MAAT has a very large shape, which has required the introduction of new elements and references, as being presented in this work. The achieved results show that MAAT can be realized, by taking into account the significant weight estimated for such aircrafts, to be for the Cruiser about 533 tons, while the Feeder weight is about 12 tons. As highlighted before, the MAAT design is still under intensive developments, and thus, it is expected that in the coming years, by taking into account the new emerging technological solutions, the lightening of such aircrafts structure is inevitable. In addition, the authors plans are to further investigate new materials and their related applications, in order to improve the structural part of the MAAT system, as one of the essential parts in such new transportation system, expected to become the reality in the forthcoming future.