Optimization of an Aircraft Control Surface

This paper describes the conceptual optimization as performed on an aileron from a typical medium sized aircraft. The goals were to re-design an existing configuration maintaining the overall stiffness and weight whilst reducing the manufacturing cost. A design methodology has been developed to rapidly generate the basic structural configurations to meet given performance requirements. These requirements are either transformed into constraints or an objective function during the optimization process. ANSYS has been used throughout the optimization process starting with a topological optimization study to determine basic internal lay-outs. The internal configuration was then decided concurrently by examining structural and manufacturing constraints. This was followed by parametric optimization carried out on a stepwise fashion to determine firstly the optimum position of internal ribs and spars and finally the optimum skin thickness in each bay. Different initial configurations were studied to determine whether a spar / rib dominated design would be most suitable for the given structure. Additional internal configurations proposed on the basis of minimum assembly/manufacturing cost were quickly analyzed using ANSYS parametric capabilities.
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