The interaction between active aeroelastic control and structural tailoring in aeroservoelastic wing design

Simon Binder, Andreas Wildschek, Roeland De Breuker

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This paper presents an analysis of the interaction and trade-off between active aeroelastic control and passive structural tailoring on a free-flying fully flexible aircraft model. Both technologies are included in the preliminary design of a typical transport aircraft configuration with a conventional control surface layout containing trailing edge control surfaces and spoilers. The passive structural tailoring is facilitated by exploiting the anisotropic properties of composite materials to steer the static and dynamic aeroelastic behaviour. Active aeroelastic control is implemented by scheduled control surface deflections redistributing the aerodynamic loads during manoeuvres to achieve manoeuvre load alleviation and a feed-forward control law for gust load alleviation. The panel-based aerodynamic modelling of spoiler deflections is improved by a correction of the spatial distribution of the boundary condition derived from higher fidelity simulation data. The optimisation of active control laws requires the consideration of constraints of the actuation system, namely rate and deflection saturation, in a nonlinear manner. The interaction of manoeuvre load alleviation, gust load alleviation and passive structural tailoring is investigated on the basis of results of different aeroservoelastic optimisations. Therefore the primary wing structure is simultaneously optimised with the individual technologies being activated or deactivated, resulting in eight different wing structures. The results of the individual and combined optimisations reveal significant design differences. The potentials of the different technologies can only be optimally exploited by simultaneous optimisation. The paper concludes with a study of the sensitivity of the major findings with respect to the knockdown factor for failure applied to the material properties. A substantial shift of effectiveness from active aeroelastic control to passive structural tailoring is observed with increased allowables resulting in more flexible and hence less stiff wing designs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106516
Number of pages12
JournalAerospace Science and Technology
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Aeroservoelastic optimization
  • Composite tailoring
  • Feed-forward gust load control
  • Manoeuver load alleviation

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