System Synthesis in Preliminary Aircraft Design Using Statistical Methods

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DeLaurentis, Daniel A.
Mavris, Dimitri N.
Schrage, Daniel P.
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This paper documents an approach to conceptual and early preliminary aircraft design in which system synthesis is achieved using statistical methods, specifically Design of Experiments (DOE) and Response Surface Methodology (RSM). These methods are employed in order to more efficiently search the design space for optimum configurations. In particular, a methodology incorporating three uses of these techniques is presented. First, response surface equations are formed which represent aerodynamic analyses, in the form of regression polynomials, which are more sophisticated than generally available in early design stages. Next, a regression equation for an Overall Evaluation Criterion is constructed for the purpose of constrained optimization at the system level. This optimization, though achieved in a innovative way, is still traditional in that it is a point design solution. The methodology put forward here remedies this by introducing uncertainty into the problem, resulting in solutions which are probabilistic in nature. DOE/RSM is used for the third time in this setting. The process is demonstrated through a detailed aero-propulsion optimization of a High Speed Civil Transport. Fundamental goals of the methodology, then, are to introduce higher fidelity disciplinary analyses to the conceptual aircraft synthesis and provide a roadmap for transitioning from point solutions to probabilistic designs (and eventually robust ones).
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