Aeroelastic Topology Optimisation of Aircraft High Aspect Ratio Wings

  • Vincent Seow

Student thesis: Masters ThesisMPhil


Aeroelastic topology optimisation is used to design and optimise the internal configuration of an aircraft high aspect ratio wing box. The approach combines an aeroelastic analysis solver, aeroelastic sensitivity analysis solver, and level set based topology optimisation algorithm. The aeroelastic solver is used to couple the aerodynamic model with structural model and perform a flutter analysis. The aeroelastic sensitivity analysis solver is used to calculate the sensitivities of wing mass, compliance and flutter with respect to structural design variables. Although aeroelastic topology optimisation allows greatest freedom to design the wing box layout, there are a few challenges existing in this subject.Two of the main issues with the aeroelastic topology optimisation are mode switching and local modes. Both mode switching and local modes problems cause the discontinuity throughout the optimisation hence makes the solution difficult to converge. These issues are addressed in this thesis by implementing the improved eigenvector orthogonality correlation method, imposing the continuous flutter constraint and implementing the effective modal mass method in the topology optimisation problem. The optimisation of various high aspect ratio wings demonstrates the usefulness and importance of resolving these two issues.
Date of Award11 Jan 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SponsorsAirbus Group Ltd & Great Western Research
SupervisorH. Alicia Kim (Supervisor), Chris Bowen (Supervisor) & Richard Butler (Supervisor)


  • Topology optimisation
  • Aeroelastic tailoring
  • Flutter

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