Investigation of Multi-Disciplinary Optimisation for Aircraft Preliminary Design 2011-01-2761
The ACARE 2020 vision for commercial transport aircraft targets a 50% reduction per passenger kilometer in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, with a 20-25% reduction to be achieved through airframe improvements. This step change in performance is dependent on the successful integration and down-selection of breakthrough technologies at early stage of aircraft development process, supported by advanced multidisciplinary design capabilities.
Conceptual design capabilities, integrating more disciplines are routinely used at Future Project Office. The challenge considered here is to transition smoothly from conceptual to preliminary design whilst maintaining a true multidisciplinary approach. The design space must be progressively constrained, whilst at the same time increasing the level of modelling fidelity and keeping as many design options open for as long as possible. Failing to account for all relevant design constraints may result in wasteful investigations into infeasible parts of the design space or design modifications which do not improve the overall aircraft performance.
Several multidisciplinary design capability approaches, ranging from rapid trade-off studies to true multidisciplinary analysis and optimisation (MDA/MDO), are investigated to understand their ability to increase the robustness of the preliminary design data and to realize the overall aircraft performance objectives within the required timescales.
A pre-requisite for such approach is the existence of efficient and fully integrated processes. These trade-off studies being performed in the preliminary design phase while there remains much design freedom, they can yield significant weight savings and performance gains. Enabling such a concurrent engineering process, MDO should be an efficient decision support tool for the designer.
The paper will review the objectives and key ideas of the approach intended to develop multidisciplinary integrated processes and will present recent - and still under progress in dedicated research programs - activities aiming at developing medium to high fidelity MDO methodologies.