An aeroelastic optimisation framework for manufacturable variable stiffness composite wings including critical gust loads

Zhijun Wang*, Daniël Peeters, Roeland De Breuker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
36 Downloads (Pure)


This work presents a new aeroelastic optimisation framework for the preliminary design of variable stiffness composite wing structures. The framework is constructed by sequentially and iteratively solving two sub-problems: aeroelastic tailoring and lay-up retrieval, using gradient-based algorithms with full-analytical sensitivities provided. During aeroelastic tailoring, the wing mass is minimised by optimising the lamination parameters and thickness of wing laminates together with wing jig twist distribution. The load cases cover not only static loads, but also the critical gust loads that are identified across the entire flight envelop at every iteration of optimisation. Further, a cruise shape constraint is included in addition to other aerostructural constraints, so that the optimal aircraft performance can be ensured. During lay-up retrieval, the manufacturable stacking sequence is retrieved according to the optimal lamination parameters with the consideration of minimal steering radius constraint. Moreover, to fix the possible constraint violations caused by lay-up retrieval, a correction strategy is incorporated to tighten the violated constraints for repeating aeroelastic tailoring. Finally, several case studies on the design of NASA common research model wing are carried out and investigated. The results indicate that the critical gust loads and cruise shape constraint have a large influence on the design of tow-steered composite wing structures, which therefore demonstrate the usefulness and benefits of the proposed optimisation framework.

Original languageEnglish
Article number290
Number of pages20
JournalStructural and Multidisciplinary Optimization
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Aeroelastic optimisation
  • Critical gust loads
  • Cruise shape constraint
  • Manufacturability constraint
  • Variable stiffness composites


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