Structural Optimization and Design of a Strut-Braced Wing Aircraft
Naghshineh-Pour, Amir H.
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A significant improvement can be achieved in the performance of transonic transport aircraft using Multidisciplinary Design Optimization (MDO) by implementing truss-braced wing concepts in combination with other advanced technologies and novel design innovations. A considerable reduction in drag can be obtained by using a high aspect ratio wing with thin airfoil sections and tip-mounted engines. However, such wing structures could suffer from a significant weight penalty. Thus, the use of an external strut or a truss bracing is promising for weight reduction. Due to the unconventional nature of the proposed concept, commonly available wing weight equations for transport aircraft will not be sufficiently accurate. Hence, a bending material weight calculation procedure was developed to take into account the influence of the strut upon the wing weight, and this was coupled to the Flight Optimization System (FLOPS) for total wing weight estimation. The wing bending material weight for single-strut configurations is estimated by modeling the wing structure as an idealized double-plate model using a piecewise linear load method. Two maneuver load conditions 2.5g and -1.0g factor of safety of 1.5 and a 2.0g taxi bump are considered as the critical load conditions to determine the wing bending material weight. From preliminary analyses, the buckling of the strut under the -1.0g load condition proved to be the critical structural challenge. To address this issue, an innovative design strategy introduces a telescoping sleeve mechanism to allow the strut to be inactive during negative g maneuvers and active during positive g maneuvers. Also, more wing weight reduction is obtained by optimizing the strut force, a strut offset length, and the wing-strut junction location. The best configuration shows a 9.2% savings in takeoff gross weight, an 18.2% savings in wing weight and a 15.4% savings in fuel weight compared to a cantilever wing counterpart.
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