3418. Virtual Engineering Models for Aircraft Structure Weight Estimation


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Kim Oltmann: 3418. Virtual Engineering Models for Aircraft Structure Weight Estimation. 2007.



This paper describes an engineering model to enable a multidisciplinary design team to address a wider range of complex design issues much earlier than is common today. The virtual engineering model is dedicated to simulate arbitrary structural layouts that incorporate the finite element method into preliminary aircraft design. Moreover, it provides a more accurate geometrical representation of the entire aircraft, both outer surfaces and structural topology, early in the design process. This aircraft modeling will enable interdisciplinary teams to involve more structural and manufacturing requirements so that their effect on weight and cost is known much earlier, gathering higher design fidelity. The goal has been to develop modeling methods using the parametric-associative approach that will take into account designer inputs throughout agreed parameter interfaces; and it does not require extensive modeling effort several times. To test the herein presented model in an enterprise environment, different use cases on component and assembly level were conducted while satisfying typical aircraft design requirements from a configuration and a structural point of view. The results further indicate that the virtual engineering model could provide decisive advantage in terms of time required to find an appropriate component design, a reliable common data source distributed to all incorporated disciplines, and design fidelity. It also indicates that the much earlier involvement of virtual engineering models in a conceptual design process provides major interdisciplinary interfaces so that all design information are obviously shared by avoiding risk that might appear when several data transformations have to be executed.


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