New hypersonic plane design could see a radically updated return of the biplane

A new airplane shape for hypersonic planes has been proposed by chinese researchers. Typical hypersonic airplane designs have followed the two wing configurations used in all planes.

The lower wing is a common compression surface, while the upper wing is designed according to the idea of HCWs. The upper wing acts like a surfboard riding on the supersonic shock wave to increase the lift.

The parts between the two wings are the airframe and the attachment struts. Because the cross-section of the configuration appears like the letter “I”, the design is named “hypersonic I-shaped aerodynamic configuration (HIAC).

There are at least three objectives in designing an aerodynamic configuration,
* the high lift to drag ratio (L/D),
* the high volumetric efficiency and
* the high lift coefficient

The new design meets those objectives.

In order to validate the advantages of HIACs, a scaled test model was generated as a typical example. The leading edge profiles of the wings were optimized using the computational fluid dynamics, the surrogate models method, and the genetic algorithm in combination. The optimized configuration has one set of wings over top of another set of wings.

There are opportunities for more aerodynamic performance improvement.

Double wing planes (bi-planes) existed during World War I and the early days of flight. It would be interesting if the next generation of hypersonic planes saw a high tech return of the bi-plane.