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Simulation of a T-10 Payload Drop

Edith Arnold, T*AFSM

Project Supervisor:
Sunil Sathe, T*AFSM

Principal Investigator:
Professor Tayfun E. Tezduyar, T*AFSM

This project, which is a part of a research effort by the T*AFSM in collaboration with US Army Natick Soldier Center, is an exploration of the feasibility of reducing the descent speed of a paratrooper by reducing his weight mid-drop. This is accomplished by dropping some of the equipment he carries. The equipment must be attached to the paratrooper by a cable, to ensure that he does not lose it during the landing. This means that if he drops the payload too early for it to hit the ground without putting the cable in tension it will apply a jerk to the paratrooper, thus increasing his descent speed. This project includes several different simulations, all using a T-10 parachute, to determine if the benefits of dropping the weight to the ground exceed the risks of dropping it too early.

Figure 1: Veritcal velocities in a failed payload drop (i.e. a drop where the payload does not hit the ground, but pulls on the paratrooper). The force on the paratrooper causes significant oscillation in descent speed.

Figure 2: The canopy shape changes as the payload applies jerks to the paratrooper.

Simulations with nine different combinations of paratrooper and payload weight were carried out to determine the potential reduction in descent speed. A successful drop (i.e. one where the payload hits the ground without pulling the cable in tension) was simulated by reducing the mass of the point mass representing the paratrooper.

Figure 3: A successful drop can greatly reduce descent speed, especially for lighter paratroopers carrying heavier payloads.