Mechanical and Electromagnetic Optimization of Structurally Embedded Waveguide Antennas
Albertson, Nicholas James
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Use of Slotted Waveguide Antenna Stiffened Structures (SWASS) in future commercial and military aircraft calls for the development of an airworthiness certification procedure. The first step of this procedure is to provide a computationally low-cost method for modeling waveguide antenna arrays on the scale of an aircraft skin panel using a multi-fidelity model. Weather detection radar for the Northrop Grumman X-47 unmanned air system is considered as a case study. COMSOL Multiphysics is used for creating high-fidelity waveguide models that are imported into the MATLAB Phased Array Toolbox for large-scale array calculations using a superposition method. Verification test cases show that this method is viable for relatively accurate modeling of large SWASS arrays with low computational effort. Additionally, realistic material properties for carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) are used to create a more accurate model. Optimization is performed on a 12-slot CFRP waveguide to determine the waveguide dimensions for the maximum far-field gain and separately for the maximum critical buckling load. Using the two separate optima as utopia points, a multi-objective optimization for the peak far-field gain and critical buckling load is performed, to obtain a balance between EM performance and structural strength. This optimized waveguide is then used to create a SWASS array of approximately the same size as an aircraft wing panel using the multi-fidelity modeling method that is proposed. This model is compared to a typical conventional weather radar system, and found to be well above the minimum mission requirements.
- Masters Theses