Robust aircraft subsystem conceptual architecting

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Jackson, David Wayne
Mavris, Dimitri N.
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Aircraft subsystems are key components in modern aircraft, the impact and significance of which have been constantly increasing. Furthermore, the architecture selection of these subsystems has overall system-level effects. Despite the significant effects of architecture selections, existing methods for determining the architecture, especially early in design, are similar to the use of traditional point solutions. Currently, aircraft subsystems are rarely examined during the conceptual design phase, despite the fact that this phase has a significant influence on aircraft cost and performance. For this reason, there is a critical need to examine subsystem architecture trades and investigate the design space during the conceptual design of an aircraft. Traditionally, after the aircraft conceptual design phase, subsystems are developed in a process that begins with the point selection of the architecture, then continues with its development and analysis, and concludes in the detailed development of the subsystems. The choice of the point design of the architecture to be developed can be made using simplified models to explore the design space. This method known as conceptual architecting is explored in this dissertation. This dissertation also focuses on bringing actuation subsystem architecture trades into conceptual design because of the significant cost impact of this design phase and the interdependence of vehicle sizing with the subsystems impact on the aircraft. The extent of these interdependencies is examined and found to be significant. As a result, this coupling must be captured to enable better informed decision making. A methodology to examine the design space of aircraft subsystem architectures during the conceptual design of aircraft, while incorporating this coupling, is presented herein and applied specifically to actuation architectures.
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