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Parametric Design & an Approach to Weight Optimization of a Metallic and Carbon Fiber Wing

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posted on 16.10.2019, 17:30 by John Joe
In a multifidelity structural design process, depending on the required analysis, different levels of structural models are needed. Within the aerospace design, analysis and optimization community, there is an increasing demand for automatic generation of parametric feature tree (build recipe) attributed multidisciplinary models. Currently, this is mainly done by creating separate models for different disciplines such as mid-surface model for aeroelasticity, outer-mold line for aerodynamics and CFD, and built-up element model for structural analysis. Since all of these models are built independently, any changes in design parameters require updates on all the models which is inefficient, time-consuming and prone to deficiencies. In this research, Engineering Sketch Pad (ESP) is used to create attribution and maintain consistency between structural models with different fidelity levels. It provides the user with the ability to interact with a configuration by building and/or modifying the design parameters and feature tree that define the configuration. ESP is based an open-source constructive solid modeler, named OpenCSM, which is built upon the OpenCASCADE geometry kernel and the EGADS geometry generation system. The use of OpenCSM as part of the AFRL’s CAPS project on Computational Aircraft Prototype Syntheses for automatic commercial and fighter jet models is demonstrated. The rapid generation of parametric aircraft structural models proposed and developed in this work will benefit the aerospace industry with coming up with efficient, fast and robust multidisciplinary design standardization of aircraft structures. Metallic aircraft wings are usually not optimized to their fullest potential due to shortage of development time. With roughly \$1000 worth of potential fuel savings per pound of weight reduction over the operational life of an aircraft, airlines are trying to minimize the weight of aircraft structures. A stiffness based strategy is used to map the nodal data of the lower-order fidelity structural models onto the higher-order ones. A simple multi-fidelity analysis process for a parametric wing is used to demonstrate the advantage of the approach. The loads on the wing are applied from a stick model as is done in the industry. C program is created to connect the parametric design software ESP, analysis software Nastran, load file and design configuration file in CSV format. This problem gets compounded when it comes to optimization of composite wings. In this study, a multi-level optimization strategy to optimize the weight of a composite transport aircraft wing is proposed. The part is assumed to initially have some arbitrary number of composite super plies. Super plies are a concept consisting of a set of plies all arranged in the same direction. The thickness and orientation angles of the super plies are optimized. Then, each ply undergoes topometry optimization to obtain the areas of each super ply taking the least load so that it could be cut and removed. Each of the super plies are then optimized for the thickness and orientation angles of the sub plies. The work presented on this paper is part of a project done for Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) connecting the parametric geometry modeler (ESP) with the finite element solver (Nastran).


AFRL Contract FA8050-14-C-2472: CAPS: Computational Aircraft Prototype Syntheses


Degree Type

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering

Campus location


Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Dr. Hamid Dalir

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee co-chair

Dr. John F. Dannenhoffer III

Additional Committee Member 2

Dr. Carlos Larriba-Andaluz