WP4 - Aircraft Design Optimisation

The goal of this work package is to find which set of operational parameters, design parameters and aircraft technologies minimize the climate function of WP 3. More specifically, the following questions need to be answered in this work package:

  • Which combination of range, speed and altitude should be selected for the optimal design?
  • Which combination of design parameters should be selected for the optimal design?
  • Which technologies should be included in the optimal design?

The reference aircraft serves as a baseline for comparison of the global-warming optimized design. The reference aircraft can be used to compare the proper functioning of the aircraft design methodology that is employed in this project (verification) as well as to compare the resulting performance, weight, and geometric characteristics to an existing aircraft (validation). Once the climate cost function of WP 3 is established, the global warming impact of the reference aircraft can also be quantified.

Based on the fleet analysis of WP 2, an envelope of operational parameters is established. This includes variation in harmonic range, cruise altitude, cruise speed, as well as airport-related parameters such as gate-constraints, take-off field length, and landing distance. Furthermore, a range of engine and airframe parameters are established, which have an impact on aircraft performance such as engine bypass ratio, wing aspect ratio or the type of high-lift devices that are installed.

Based on the literature survey in WP 1, a technology portfolio is created that could potentially improve the climate function of WP 3. For each technology, its impact on system mass, drag, and/or power consumption is quantified such that it can be used in the overall aircraft synthesis process. Moreover, a technology compatibility matrix is established. Furthermore, boundary conditions stemming from operational conditions (i.e. SESAR) that affect the aircraft performance are also established.

Using the results of the two previous tasks, a multi-disciplinary aircraft design synthesis method is employed to assess the climate function of WP 3. Given the large design space in terms of possible technology combinations, operational parameters, airframe parameters and engine parameters a search strategy for finding the optimum will be employed. The search algorithm is to be defined in this work package and could be (a combination of) a response surface method, a global optimization scheme or a gradient-based optimization scheme.