Publication Date: 2016 Venue: AIAA SciTech, San Diego, California, USA Domain: Space and Aeronautics
Traditionally, most efforts for improving aircraft aerodynamic efficiency have focused on shape optimization for a given structural concept. As a result, numerous new aircraft shapes have been proposed, but the basic structural layout of wings has remained mostly unchanged for decades. Today, progress in manufacturing techniques and the advent of disruptive technologies such as additive manufacturing in general and 3D printing in particular have opened the door for conceiving more sophisticated layouts of built-up wings. However, due to its many-queries nature, the optimization of a structural layout is difficult to perform experimentally, but can be conveniently simulated numerically.
To this effect, this paper presents an approach for laying out the internal structure of a wing and a corresponding numerical optimization framework for supporting it. A key component of this approach is a parameterization scheme for the stiffeners that draws inspiration from nature. It enables the modeling of a vast array of topological structures using a limited number of parameters. Furthermore, it can be easily implemented in a given model generator, interfaced with high-fidelity flow solvers and structural analyzers, and incorporated in a global multidisciplinary optimization framework. This overall framework is discussed in this paper and illustrated with the multi disciplinary optimization of a wing for minimum weight using the positioning of spars and ribs and their thicknesses as optimization parameters, and aeroelastic characteristics as constraints.