Aeroelastic Tailoring of Very Flexible High Aspect Ratio Wings

Student : Christopher Lupp

Sponsor : Technische Universität Berlin


Elastic wing deformations may result in a performance penalty if they are not accounted for during the design phase. Using the anisotropic properties of composite materials, it is possible to control the wing’s deformation via aeroelastic tailoring. Typically, such optimization is accomplished for a single operating point. However, some aircraft (e.g., sailplanes) operate in multiple conditions of equal importance, thus creating a more complex optimization problem. This project aims to enable the aeroelastic simulation of very flexible high aspect ratio wings in low subsonic flow and the optimization of total performance by varying the wing skin composite ply orientation. Using a 20 m class sailplane as an example, a specific goal of this project is to enable the optimization for several operating points.


  • Integrate a 3-D panel method (PMARC) and a finite element nonlinear beam solver (NLABS) to model a composite wing that experiences large elastic deflections
  • Verify the model using existing test cases
  • Optimize the performance of a composite wing by considering multiple operating points