Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Anthony N. Palazotto, PhD


The analysis of a celestial icosahedron geometry is considered as a potential design for a Vacuum Lighter than Air Vehicle (VLTAV). The goal of the analysis is ultimately to understand the initial fluid-structure interaction of the VLTAV and the surrounding airflow. Up to this point, previous research analyzed the celestial icosahedron VLTAV in relation to withstanding a symmetric sea-level pressure applied to the membrane of the structure. This scenario simulates an internal vacuum being applied in the worst-case atmospheric environmental condition. The next step in analysis is to determine the aerodynamic effects of the geometry. The experimental setup for obtaining aerodynamic effects is validated prior to analyzing the deformed celestial icosahedron geometry by analyzing a perfect sphere utilizing the same manufacturing process and setup expected to be adopted for the celestial icosahedron experiments. The data received from Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis of the deformed structure in collaboration with Wright State University is used to determine the significance of aerodynamic effects on the structure. The pressure profiles experienced in the wind tunnel experiments and CFD analysis are comparatively similar. Therefore, the CFD data is used to conduct a structural analysis in which aerodynamic effects are incorporated. The research concluded that the aerodynamic pressures do not significantly affect the stress on the structure. As a result, it recommended that a full nonlinear fluid-structure interaction analysis is not necessary for this structure.

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