An Approach to Incorporate Additive Manufacturing and Rapid Prototype Testing for Aircraft Conceptual Design to Improve MDO Effectiveness

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Virginia Tech

The primary objectives of this work are two-fold. First, additive manufacturing (AM) and rapid prototype (RP) testing are evaluated for use in production of a wind tunnel (WT) models. Second, an approach was developed to incorporate stability and control (SandC) WT data into aircraft conceptual design multidisciplinary design optimization (MDO). Both objectives are evaluated in terms of data quality, time, and cost.

FDM(TM) and PolyJet AM processes were used for model production at low cost and time. Several models from a representative tailless configuration, ICE 101, were printed and evaluated for strength, cost and time of production. Furthermore, a NACA 0012 model with 20% chord flap was manufactured. Both models were tested in the Virginia Tech (VT) Open-Jet WT for force and moment acquisition. A 1/15th scale ICE 101 model was prepared for manufacturing, but limits of FDM(TM) technology were identified for production.

An approach using WT data was adapted from traditional surrogate-based optimization (SBO), which uses computational fluid dynamics (CFD) for data generation. Split-plot experimental designs were developed for analysis of the WT SBO strategy using historical data and for WT testing of the NACA 0012. Limitations of the VT Open-Jet WT resulted in a process that was not fully effective for a MDO environment. However, resolution of ICE 101 AM challenges and higher quality data from a closed-section WT should result in a fully effective approach to incorporate AM and RP testing in an aircraft conceptual design MDO.

Additive manufacturing, Surrogate-Based Optimization, Aircraft Conceptual Design Effectiveness, Design of Experiments