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Improved aerostructural performance via aeroservoelastic tailoring of a composite wing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1442-1474
Number of pages33
JournalThe Aeronautical Journal
Issue number1255
Early online date20 Jun 2018
DateAccepted/In press - 15 Apr 2018
DateE-pub ahead of print - 20 Jun 2018
DatePublished (current) - Sep 2018


This paper investigates the synergies and trade-offs between passive aeroelastic tailoring and adaptive aeroelastic deformation of a transport composite wing for fuel burn minimisation. This goal is achieved by optimising thickness and stiffness distributions of constitutive laminates, jig-twist shape and distributed control surface deflections through different segments of a nominal cruise-climb mission. Enhanced aerostructural efficiency is sought both passively and adaptively as a means of aerodynamic load redistribution, which, in turn, is used for manoeuvre load relief and minimum drag dissipation. Passive shape adaptation is obtained by embedding shear-extension and bend-twist couplings in the laminated wing skins. Adaptive camber changes are provided via full-span trailing-edge flaps. Optimised design solutions are found using a bi-level approach that integrates gradient-based and particle swarm optimisations in order to tailor structural properties at rib-bay level and retrieve blended stacking sequences. Performance benefits from the combination of passive aeroelastic tailoring with adaptive control devices are benchmarked in terms of fuel burn and a payload-range efficiency. It is shown that the aeroservoelastically tailored composite design allows for significant weight and fuel burn improvements when compared to a similar all-metallic wing. Additionally, the trailing-edge flap augmentation can extend the aircraft performance envelope and improve the overall cruise span efficiency to nearly optimal lift distributions.

    Research areas

  • Adaptive trailing-edge devices, aeroservoelastic tailoring, composite wing, fuel burn minimisation

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  • Full-text PDF (accepted author manuscript)

    Rights statement: This is the accepted author manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Cambridge University Press at DOI: 10.1017/aer.2018.66. Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Accepted author manuscript, 1.57 MB, PDF document


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