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Multi-Discipline Design, Analysing Optimisation of Aerospace Vehicles


This project has demonstrated the concurrent multi-discipline assessment of an aircraft in a matter of hours, thus providing the basis for two important new processes;

Multi-Discipline Analysis (MDA) - the multi-discipline assessment of the performance of an aircraft to a consistent standard, allowing the effect of design changes proposed from any source to be rapidly evaluated.

Multi-Discipline Optimisation (MDO) - the use of optimisation tools to repeatedly apply a proven MDA process and thereby evolve new and improved design options, according to design variables and constraints specified by the engineer.

This MDO capability has been realised and made effective through the innovation of engineers in two key areas in particular;
the Multi-ModelGenerator (MMG) which was devised and developed to enable the rapid and systematic generation of the complex analysis models required for high fidelity aerodynamic, structural and aeroelastic simulation of aircraft peformance,
the Integrated Product Model (implemented in the Technical Data Modeller and Browser (TDMB)), that provides a structured data modelling methodology and practical data exchange and access utilities, enabling extensive multi-discipline technical data to be defined and managed effectively.

These developments are considered to have provided the technology required to enable a step-change in the speed by which State-of-the-Art simulation tools can be applied repeatedly and systematically to assess the multi-discipline effect of design changes. Such work, involving specialists from multiple disciplines and from multiple companies, is believed to be unique.
Objectives and content

The increasingly competitive nature of the civil and commercial transport market leads the airlines to demand of the aircraft manufacturers both reduced direct cost of operation and reduced acquisition costs. Although most of these costs arise during the manufacture and development phase of any new aircraft programme, a large percentage of this cost is committed on the basis of decisions made during conceptual and preliminary design.

It is the objective of this project to establish new and effective multi-discipline design methodologies, that exploit and integrate a range of state-of-the-art modelling based design and analysis methods (including Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) aerodynamic methods and Finite Element (FE) structural analysis methods), creating a Multi-Disciplinary Optimisation (MDO) capability to support those early design decisions. This is essential if the full advantage of aerodynamic, materials and systems technology developments of recent decades is to be exploited through integration in a new aircraft design.

The project will both validate simplified multi-discipline design processes through the comparison amongst partners of alternative approaches to a common design study, and investigate the key scientific and computational challenges that must be progressed to evolve a more comprehensive MDO capability that will be a source of competitive advantage for European industry. The project will develop standards for the new design methodology and for data exchange, and partners will apply these in prototype form to demonstrate and facilitate industrial exploitation.

The project complements many previous, active and proposed projects - many of the CFD & FE analysis methodologies are themselves the results of development and validation in previous European Commission projects, and this project has been scoped to integrate vertically with other current and proposed projects which focus on methodologies for component and assembly level design (for example developing design-build team, digital mock-up and feature-based concepts).

The project completes with the formulation of recommendations and strategy for developing an enhanced MDO capability based on integration of the principal investigative strands of this project together with state-of-the-art developments in the broader technical community. The project will identify and begin to quantify the key benefits of such an integrated capability both in improving aircraft performance/efficiency and in reducing design timescales. (This project might form the basis of a future collaborative project.)
The success of this project will contribute directly to the social, economic and technical cohesion of the European Union, and to the competitiveness and industrial success of European collaboration on new aircraft programmes during the latter part of the 1990's with entry into service early in the 21st century.

Call for proposal

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267,fpc 267
BS35 7QW Bristol
United Kingdom

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EU contribution
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Participants (14)