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Technical Paper

Viable Designs Through a Joint Probabilistic Estimation Technique

A key issue in complex systems design is measuring the ‘goodness’ of a design, i.e. finding a criterion through which a particular design is determined to be the ‘best’. Traditional choices in aerospace systems design, such as performance, cost, revenue, reliability, and safety, individually fail to fully capture the life cycle characteristics of the system. Furthermore, current multi-criteria optimization approaches, addressing this problem, rely on deterministic, thus, complete and known information about the system and the environment it is exposed to. In many cases, this information is not be available at the conceptual or preliminary design phases. Hence, critical decisions made in these phases have to draw from only incomplete or uncertain knowledge. One modeling option is to treat this incomplete information probabilistically, accounting for the fact that certain values may be prominent, while the actual value during operation is unknown.
Technical Paper

Variable Cycle Optimization for Supersonic Commercial Applications

Variable cycle engines (VCEs) hold promise as an enabling technology for supersonic business jet (SBJ) applications. Fuel consumption can potentially be minimized by modulating the engine cycle between the subsonic and supersonic phases of flight. The additional flexibility may also contribute toward meeting takeoff and landing noise and emissions requirements. Several different concepts have been and are currently being investigated to achieve variable cycle operation. The core-driven fan stage (CDFS) variable cycle engine is perhaps the most mature concept since an engine of this type flew in the USAF Advanced Tactical Fighter prototype program in the 1990s. Therefore, this type of VCE is of particular interest for potential commercial application. To investigate the potential benefits of a CDFS variable cycle engine, a parametric model is developed using the NASA Numerical Propulsion System Simulation (NPSS).
Technical Paper

Use of Probabilistics in Campaign Analysis

Significant advances have been made recently in applying probabilistic methods to aerospace vehicle concepts. Given the explosive changes that are occurring in today’s political, social, and technological climate, it makes practical sense to try and extrapolate these methods to the campaign analysis level. This would allow the assessment of rapidly changing threat environments as well as technological advancements, aiding today’s decision makers. The following paper summarizes attempts to apply these methods directly to campaign analysis, and discusses the resulting issues that were identified as potential problem areas. A new approach is postulated which includes the application of probabilistic methods to a fully linked analysis environment. Applying and validating these new methods is an ongoing project.
Technical Paper

Use of Flight Simulation in Early Design: Formulation and Application of the Virtual Testing and Evaluation Methodology

In current design practices, safety, operational and handling criteria are often overlooked until late design stages due to the difficulty in capturing such criteria early enough in the design cycle and in the presence of limited and uncertain knowledge. Virtual (flight) testing and evaluation, based on autonomous modeling and simulation, is proposed as a solution to this shortcoming. The methodology enables one to evaluate vehicle behavior in relatively complex situations through a series of specific flight scenarios. Bringing this methodology to conceptual design requires the creation of an automatic link between the design database and the autonomous flight simulation environment. This paper describes the creation of such a link and an implementation of the Virtual Testing and Evaluation methodology with the use of an advanced design concept.
Technical Paper

The Implementation of a Conceptual Aerospace Systems Design and Analysis Toolkit

The Conceptual Aerospace Systems Design and Analysis Toolkit (CASDAT) provides a baseline assessment capability for the Air Force Research Laboratory. The historical development of CASDAT is of benefit to the design research community because considerable effort was expended in the classification of the analysis tools. Its implementation proves to also be of importance because of the definition of assessment use cases. As a result, CASDAT is compatible with accepted analysis tools and can be used with state-of-the-art assessment methods, including technology forecasting and probabilistic design.
Technical Paper

Test Results for a Fuel Cell-Powered Demonstration Aircraft

A fuel cell powered airplane has been designed and constructed at the Georgia Insitute of Technology to develop an understanding of the design and implementation challenges of fuel cell-powered unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). A custom 448W net output proton exchange membrane fuel cell powerplant has been constructed and tested. A demonstrator aircraft was designed and built to accommodate this powerplant and the fuel cell powered aircraft has performed seven test flights to date. Test data show that the aircraft performance validates the models used for design and optimization and that the fuel cell aircraft is capable of longer endurance, higher performance test flights.
Journal Article

Technology Selection for Optimal Power Distribution Efficiency in a Turboelectric Propulsion System

Turboelectric propulsion is a technology that can potentially reduce aircraft noise, increase fuel efficiency, and decrease harmful emissions. In a turbo-electric system, the propulsor (fans) is no longer connected to the turbine through a mechanical connection. Instead, a superconducting generator connected to a gas turbine produces electrical power which is delivered to distributed fans. This configuration can potentially decrease fuel burn by 10% [1]. One of the primary challenges in implementing turboelectric electric propulsion is designing the power distribution system to transmit power from the generator to the fans. The power distribution system is required to transmit 40 MW of power from the generator to the electrical loads on the aircraft. A conventional aircraft distribution cannot efficiently or reliably transmit this large amount of power; therefore, new power distribution technologies must be considered.
Technical Paper

Technology Portfolio Assessments Using a Multi-Objective Genetic Algorithm

This paper discusses the use of a Multi-Objective Genetic Algorithm to optimize a technology portfolio for a commercial transport. When incorporating technologies into a conceptual design, there are often multiple competing objectives that determine the benefits and costs of a certain portfolio. The set of designs that achieves the best values of these objectives will fall along a Pareto front that outlines the tradeoffs which will give the optimal design. Multi-Objective Genetic Algorithms determine the Pareto set by giving higher priority to dominant portfolios in the evolutionary optimization techniques of selection and reproduction. When determining the final Pareto optimal set it is important to ensure that only compatible portfolios of technologies are present.
Technical Paper

Technology Impact Forecasting for a High Speed Civil Transport

This paper outlines a comprehensive, structured, and robust methodology for decision making in the early phases ofaircraft design. The proposed approach is referred to as the Technology Identification, Evaluation, and Selection (TIES) method. The seven-step process provides the decision maker/designer with an ability to easily assess and trade-off the impact of various technologies in the absence of sophisticated, time-consuming mathematical formulations. The method also provides a framework where technically feasible alternatives can be identified with accuracy and speed. This goal is achieved through the use of various probabilistic methods, such as Response Surface Methodology and Monte Carlo Simulations. Furthermore, structured and systematic techniques are utilized to identify possible concepts and evaluation criteria by which comparisons could be made.
Technical Paper

Technology Assessment of a Supersonic Business Jet

This paper presents a quantitative process to track the progress of technology developments within NASA’s Vehicle Systems Program (VSP) as implemented on a Supersonic Business Jet (SBJ). The process, called the Technology Metric Assessment and Tracking (TMAT) process, accounts for the temporal aspects of technology development programs such that technology portfolio assessments, in the form of technological progress towards VSP sector goals, may be tracked and assessed. Progress tracking of internal research and development programs is an essential element to successful strategic endeavors and justification of the pursuit of capital projects [1].
Technical Paper

Supersonic Business Jet Design and Requirements Exploration using Multiobjective Interactive Genetic Algorithms

Although market research has indicated that there is significant demand for a supersonic business aircraft, development of a feasible concept has proven difficult. Two factors contributing to this difficulty are the uncertain nature of the vehicle’s requirements and the fact that conventional design methods are inadequate to solve such non-traditional problems. This paper describes the application of a multiobjective genetic algorithm to the design space exploration of such a supersonic business jet. Results obtained using this method are presented, and give insight into the important decisions that must be made at the early stages of a design project.
Technical Paper

Response Surface Utilization in the Exploration of a Supersonic Business Jet Concept with Application of Emerging Technologies

Commercial and independent market assessments continue to reveal a strong market desire for a supersonic business jet capable of meeting the requirements for supersonic, overland flight. However, the challenge of meeting the as-yet undefined regulations for overland flight, as well as meeting current and future noise and emission regulations, is daunting. An integrated modeling and simulation environment, based on the creation of response surface metamodels, allows for the rapid evaluation of a design space. From this environment the effects on metrics such as emissions, economics, sonic boom profiles and noise levels can rapidly be seen and manipulated. Such an environment also allows the application of technologies to the vehicle in order to evaluate their potential impact on the system-level metrics.
Technical Paper

Quiet, Clean, and Efficient, but Heavy - Concerns for Future Fuel Cell Powered Personal Air Vehicles

Unfortunately, the promises of efficient, clean, quiet power that fuel cells offer are balanced by extremely low power densities and great infrastructure-related challenges. Studies by government and industry have investigated their feasibility for primary propulsion in light aircraft. These studies have produced mixed results but have tended to rely on integrating fuel cells into existing airframes, with respectably-performing light sport planes being turned into underpowered show planes with horribly compromised range and payload capabilities. Fuel cells today are in the earliest phases of technological development. As an aircraft propulsion system, they are as advanced as the Wright's reciprocating engine was a hundred years ago.
Technical Paper

Quiet Supersonic Jet Engine Performance Tradeoff Analysis Using a Response Surface Methodology Approach

Recent market studies indicate a renewed interest for a quiet Supersonic Business Jet (SBJ). The success of such a program will be strongly dependent upon the achievement of stringent engine noise, emissions and fuel consumption goals. This paper demonstrates the use of advanced design methods to develop a parametric design space exploration environment which will be ultimately used for the identification of an engine concept capable of satisfying acoustic levels imposed by FAR part 36 (stage IV) and NOx and CO2 standards as stated in the 1996 ICAO. The engine performance is modeled through the use of Response Surface and Design of Experiments Techniques, enabling the designer/decision-maker to change initial engine parameter values to detect the effects of the responses in a time efficient manner. Engine performance and engine weight results are obtained through physics-based engine analysis codes developed by NASA.
Technical Paper

Program and Design Decisions in an Uncertain and Dynamic Market: Making Engineering Choices Matter

The success of a modern, complex engineering program is inherently a dynamic economic exercise. Because of this it is not possible to fully grasp what decisions are important to the success of a program using only the typical static or “frozen” design methods and processes. This paper attempts to provide a basic understanding of these design processes and illustrate what they leave to be desired when used in a true market environment. Further, this paper illustrates a dynamic method using tools from engineering, management, and finance to overcome these weaknesses. The dynamic environment allows decision parameters and metrics to change, along with the potential for true competition. Furthermore, it allows the engineer to determine which design choices matter most to the creation of a successful program and how to make the most appropriate choices in the face of uncertainty.
Technical Paper

Probabilistic Analysis of an HSCT Modeled with an Equivalent Laminated Plate Wing

The High Speed Civil Transport (HSCT), a supersonic commercial transport currently under development, presents several challenges to traditional conceptual design. The current historical database used by many commercial transport design processes only include data for subsonic transports and therefore does not apply to innovative new configurations such as the HSCT. Therefore, physics-based, preliminary design tools must be used to model the characteristics of advanced aircraft in conceptual sizing routines. In addition, the evaluation of the aircraft design space often requires the analysis of many configurations in order to assess the impact of design constraints and determine the attainable range of system level metrics, a process which is very time consuming in both modeling and computer run time.
Technical Paper

Preliminary Assessment of the Economic Viability of a Family of Very Large Transport Configurations

A family of Very Large Transport (VLT) concepts were studied as an implementation of the affordability aspects of the Robust Design Simulation (RDS) methodology which is based on the Integrated Product and Process Development (IPPD) initiative that is sweeping through industry. The VLT is envisioned to be a high capacity (600 to 1000 passengers), long range (∼7500 nm), subsonic transport. Various configurations with different levels of technology were compared, based on affordability issues, to a Boeing 747-400 which is a current high capacity, long range transport. The varying technology levels prompted a need for an integration of a sizing/synthesis (FLOPS) code with an economics package (ALCCA). The integration enables a direct evaluation of the added technology on a configuration economic viability.
Technical Paper

New Approaches to Multidisciplinary Synthesis: An Aero-Structures-Control Application Using Statistical Techniques

An evolving aircraft synthesis simulation environment which offers improvements to existing methods at multiple levels of a design process is described in this paper. As design databases become obsolete due to the introduction of new technologies and classes of vehicles and as sophisticated analysis codes are often too computationally expensive for iterative applications, the design engineer may find a lack of usable information needed for decision making. Within the environment developed in this paper, rapid sensitivity analysis is possible through a unique representation of the relationship between fundamental design variables and system objectives. The combined use of the Design of Experiments and Response Surface techniques provides the ability to form this design relationship among system variables and target values, which is termed design-oriented in nature.
Technical Paper

New Approaches to Conceptual and Preliminary Aircraft Design: A Comparative Assessment of a Neural Network Formulation and a Response Surface Methodology

This paper critically evaluates the use of Neural Networks (NNs) as metamodels for design applications. The specifics of implementing a NN approach are researched and discussed, including the type and architecture appropriate for design-related tasks, the processes of collecting training and validation data, and training the network, resulting in a sound process, which is described. This approach is then contrasted to the Response Surface Methodology (RSM). As illustrative problems, two equations to be approximated and a real-world problem from a Stability and Controls scenario, where it is desirable to predict the static longitudinal stability for a High Speed Civil Transport (HSCT) at takeoff, are presented. This research examines Response Surface Equations (RSEs) as Taylor series approximations, and explains their high performance as a proven approach to approximate functions that are known to be quadratic or near quadratic in nature.
Technical Paper

Methodology for the Conceptual Design Process of Morphing Configurations

Traditional historical-data based design processes are clearly inappropriate for morphing vehicles. There are no historical data for these type of configurations, the appropriate mission for this class of vehicles is unknown, and there are many unique aspects of a morphing vehicle that are dependent on the specific concept chosen. The design process proposed in this paper attempts to account for these difficulties in a flexible and transparent manner while leveraging existing tools and processes wherever possible.