A Knowledge-Based Design Framework for Aircraft Conceptual and Preliminary Design 2006-01-2403
Experience has shown that process and system level thinking enables significant reductions in design cycle time by avoiding technically correct but irrelevant calculations. Irrelevance often arises when the correct analysis is performed at the wrong stage in the product definition. Current iterative approaches to engineering design require considerable duplication of effort, much of which comes from modeling multiple design abstractions for varied levels and types of analyses. To ensure that appropriate domain knowledge is available at the appropriate time, skills and experience with tools that enable more robust trade studies for increasingly detailed design with inputs from increasingly diverse disciplines are required.
Vehicle-focused efforts have broad appeal for attracting high quality, diverse students and facilitate strategic alignment of teaching and research. Towards this end, industry, government, and academic partners have teamed to develop a knowledge-based engineering framework complete with a generative multidisciplinary modeling and analysis environment supporting air vehicle synthesis called AMRaven. AMRaven supports process design automation and integrates design exploration and optimization across multiple disciplines. The framework facilitates rapid vehicle development integrating feature-based 3D geometric modeling, 3D parametric meshing, analysis (aerodynamics, propulsion, trajectory, weight estimation, etc.), and simulation. This paper discusses specifically how the tool is used for conceptual and preliminary design and analysis of airplanes, the concepts of which are based on Advanced Aircraft Analysis (AAA) tools. DARcorporation developed this powerful framework to support the iterative and non-unique process of aircraft conceptual and preliminary design.
The system architecture is managed using an object-oriented modeling language called AML (Adaptive Modeling Language), developed and marketed by TechnoSoft, Inc. AML emphasizes the decomposition of engineering problems into classified objects, and strongly supports the most powerful feature of object-oriented modeling – the ability to construct a class hierarchy in which complex classes inherit properties from simpler classes. This is the same mechanism that powers human understanding: the ability to make abstractions and then build upon them to create more complex concepts. AML is a mature, commercially-available architecture containing many of the objects necessary for developing integrated design, analysis, and manufacturing tools. AML automatically builds and manages networks of dependencies between objects, so that when an object changes all dependent objects are automatically updated. AAA allows students and preliminary design engineers to rapidly evolve an aircraft configuration from early weight sizing through open loop and closed loop dynamic stability and sensitivity analysis, while working within regulatory and cost constraints. The program is specifically designed to assist in the design learning process while reserving that individual creative judgment which is essential to the process of airplane design. The University of Kansas is incorporating these emerging tools across the engineering undergraduate curriculum, while enhancing their capabilities and disseminating these enhancements. Student learning will be enhanced to include situated knowledge gained through meaningful connections between courses and experiential learning on common projects supporting the research enterprise.