Aeroservoelasticity and Optimization of Highly Flexible Aircraft in Free-Flight

Student : Patrizio Rosatelli

Sponsor : Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)


As a means to increase aerodynamic performance, in recent times aircraft designs are moving towards configurations featuring higher aspect ratios. As a consequence, geometrically nonlinear deformations become more likely to happen, posing additional challenges in the evaluation of aeroelastic stability for example when taking into account flutter constraints in a design optimization process. The objective of this project is implementing a nonlinear flutter constraint in a multidisciplinary design optimization of aircraft, instead of a linear one that is currently the standard in this kind of studies.

To do this, the University of Michigan’s Nonlinear Aeroelastic Simulation Toolbox (UM/NAST) is being extended and integrated with other state-of-the-art computational tools to build an optimization framework that wants to take into account several aspects of free-flight: models with different degrees of complexity for structure, aerodynamics and flutter calculation; rigid body degrees of freedom in stability analysis; transonic effects in aerodynamics; closed-loop flutter onset; maneuver-based, time-dependent constraints.