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Comparison of Theoretical and Multifidelity Optimum Aerostructural Solutions for Wing Design

Jeffrey D. Taylor, Douglas F. Hunsaker

Abstract: As contemporary aerostructural research for aircraft design trends toward high-fidelity computational methods, aerostructural solutions based on theory are often neglected or forgotten. In fact, in many modern aerostructural wing optimization studies, the elliptic lift distribution is used as a reference in place of theoretical aerostructural solutions with more appropriate constraints. In this paper, the authors review several theoretical aerostructural solutions that could be used as reference cases for wing design studies, and these are compared to high-fidelity solutions with similar constraints. Solutions are presented for studies with 1) constraints related to the wing integrated bending moment, 2) constraints related to the wing root bending moment, and 3) structural constraints combined with operational constraints related to either wing stall or wing loading. It is shown that, under appropriate design constraints, theoretical solutions for the optimum lift distribution may capture aerostructural coupling sufficiently to serve as appropriate reference cases for higher-fidelity solvers. A comparison of theoretical and high-fidelity solutions for the optimum wingspan and corresponding drag reveals important insights into the effects of certain aerodynamic and structural parameters and constraints on the aerodynamic and structural coupling involved in aerostructural wing design and optimization.
Keywords: optimization / wing / aerostructural / theoretical / high fidelity / solutions / optimum / constraints

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