SC Seminar: Dr. Rauno Cavallaro

Dr. Rauno Cavallaro, Aerospace Engineering Group, Department of Bioengineering and Aerospace Engineering, Carlos III University Madrid

Towards tighter and higher-fidelity multidisciplinary optimization for the design of unconventional aircraft: the aeroelastic PrandtlPlane case


Future aeronautics needs to face several challenges. As emphasized by the EU institutions, it is of foremost importance enhancing aircraft performances for a more sustainable and greener aviation. Very ambitious goals have been set for the near future, difficult to be achieved without radical technological novelties. For this reason, in terms of airframes, alternative aircraft configurations, e.g., Joined Wings and PrandtlPlanes, are currently studied by researchers all over the world. A further challenge is the need to reduce design time, risks and costs of aircraft development. This can be pursued introducing wider Multidisciplinary Analysis and Optimization (MDAO) with physical-based analysis tools ab-initio; higher- fidelity tools guarantee a higher level of confidence in the design process, reducing risks of mispredictions with consequent need to step back to previous design phases and increase costs. Extended MDAO helps exploring design space and find more performant solutions not discoverable otherwise if considering few disciplines in isolation.

The two above aspects are synergic in the sense that for unconventional configurations, the physical-based MDAO seems mandatory to assess the gains and convenience with higher level of confidence. Especially with Joined Wings, it has been observed a strong coupling between disciplines which calls for a tight MDAO since the early design stages. Regarding aeroelasticity of Joined Wings, two fundamental aspects need to be considered. The first one is the observed strong coupling between flight dynamics and aeroelasticity, with consequences not only on flying qualities, but also on flutter instabilities onset. The second aspect is the need for a higher-fidelity assessment of unsteady aerodynamic forces to explore aeroelastic behavior of such innovative configuration in transonic regimes.

This presentation shows a unified flight dynamics/aeroelasticity framework analysis and results obtained on a PrandtlPlane. Moreover, an automated approach to correct unsteady aerodynamic generalized forces, typically obtained with tools solving potential flows, with CFD-based tools is presented.

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