Incorporating Flight Dynamics and Control Criteria in Aircraft Design Optimization
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The NASA Performance Adaptive Aeroelastic Wing (PAAW) project goals include significant reductions in fuel burn, emissions, and noise via efficient aeroelastic design and improvements in propulsion systems. As modern transport airplane designs become increasingly lightweight and incorporate high aspect-ratio wings, aeroservoelastic effects gain prominence in modeling and design considerations. As a result, the influence of the flight dynamics and controls on the optimal structural and aerodynamic design needs to be captured in the design process. There is an increasing interest in more integrated aircraft multidisciplinary design optimization (MDAO) processes that can bring flight control design into the early stage of an aircraft design cycle. So, in this thesis different flight dynamics modeling methodologies are presented that can be integrated within the MDAO framework. MDAO studies are conducted to maximize the controllability and observability of a UAV type aircraft using curvilinear SpaRibs and straight spars and ribs as the internal structural layout. The impulse residues and controllability Gramians are used as surrogates for the control objectives in the MDAO to maximize the controllability and observability of the aircraft. The optimal control designs are compared with those obtained using weight minimization as the design objective. It is found that using the aforementioned control objectives, the resulting aircraft design is more controllable and can be used to expand the flight envelope by up to 50% as compared to the weight minimized design.
General Audience Abstract
Over the last two decades, several attempts have been made towards multidisciplinary design analysis and optimization (MDAO) of flexible wings by integrating flight control laws in the wing design so that the aircraft will have sufficient control authority across different flying conditions. However, most of the studies have been restricted to the wing design only using a predefined control architecture approach, which would be very difficult to implement at the conceptual design stage. There is a need for an approach that would be faster and more practical. Including control surface and control law designs at the conceptual design stage is becoming increasingly important, due to the complexity of both the aircraft control laws and that of the actuation and sensing, and the enhanced wing flexibility of future transport aircraft. A key question that arises is, can one design an aircraft that is more controllable and observable? So, in this thesis, a more fundamental approach, in which the internal structural layout of the aircraft is optimized to design an aircraft that is more controllable, is presented and implemented. The approach uses the fundamentals of linear systems theory for maximizing the controllability and observability of the aircraft using an MDAO framework.
- Doctoral Dissertations