Aero-structural optimization of a box wing configuration for a medium range aircraft
Balasingh Joel Devanand
Date of Issue2016-03-23
School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Aircrafts have become one of the most important modes of travel and have grown in the recent years. Due to the increasing number of passengers and the rise in fuel price, there is a need to reduce the fuel consumption and emissions by making the aircraft as efficient as possible. There has been a lot of study and innovative designs in the past and present regarding the same. One of them is by changing the design of the wing. There are different types of wings. This study focuses mainly on the box-wing (commonly known as the Prandtl plane) design and optimization of a medium range passenger aircraft. The Integrated Design Department of DLR (The German Aerospace Center) Air Transportation Systems is currently conducting research on concepts, preliminary designs and optimization of future aircraft configurations as well as simulation and evaluation of entire air transport systems in terms of sustainability. The research also includes evaluating different innovative wing design concepts for their usability in future short and medium range passenger aircraft. One of the previous studies was done on the reliable physics based estimation of the mass and aerodynamic properties of the concepts. The optimization is carried out from the analysis done on a “front wing up/ positive stagger” configuration. For analysis and setting up of the design of experiment, an integrated multidisciplinary workflow (toolchain) formulated in RCE (Remote Component Environment), an open source software framework developed by DLR, is used. The results obtained from the experiments were then analyzed and an optimum design was chosen based on the constraints and analysis done. Then the results were compared with a conventional reference aircraft. From the analysis and results it is found that the estimated wing mass of the optimized design was heavier than the conventional reference aircraft, which owes to the additional wing in the box wing design. Though there is an increase in wing mass the optimized design proved to be more fuel efficient than the reference aircraft. There is an approximate 11% reduction in the fuel requirements. This goes to show that the box wing is truly a welcoming design as far as future aircrafts go and it looks promising when compared to current conventional designs.