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Title: A set-based approach to passenger aircraft family design
Author: Riaz, Atif
ISNI:       0000 0004 5920 4067
Awarding Body: Cranfield University
Current Institution: Cranfield University
Date of Award: 2015
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In today's highly competitive civil aviation market, aircraft manufacturers develop aircraft families in order to satisfy a wide range of requirements from multiple airlines, with reduced costs of ownership and shorter lead time. Traditional methods for designing passenger aircraft families employ a sequential, optimisation-based approach, where a single configuration and systems architecture is selected fairly early which is then iteratively analysed and modified until all the requirements are met. The problem with such an approach is the tendency of the optimisers to exploit assumptions already 'hard-wired' in the computational models. Subsequently the design is driven towards a solution which, while promising to the optimiser, may be infeasible due to the factors not considered by the models, e.g. integration and installation of promising novel technological solutions, which result in costly design rework later in the design process. Within this context, the aim is to develop a methodology for designing passenger aircraft families, which provides an environment for designers to interactively explore wider design space and foster innovation. To achieve this aim, a novel methodology for passenger aircraft family design is proposed where multiple aircraft family solutions are synthesised from the outset by integrating major components sets and systems architectures set. This is facilitated by integrating set theory principles and model-based design exploration methods. As more design knowledge is gained through analysis, the set of aircraft family solutions is gradually narrowed-down by discarding infeasible and inferior solutions. This is achieved through constraint analysis using iso-contours. The evaluation has been carried out through an application case-study (of a three-member passenger aircraft family design) which was executed with both the proposed methodology and the traditional approach for comparison. The proposed methodology and the case-study (along with the comparison results) were presented to a panel of industrial experts who were asked to comment on the merits and potential challenges of the proposed methodology. The conclusion is that the proposed methodology is expected to reduce the number of costly design changes, enabling designers to consider novel systems technologies and gain knowledge through interactive design space exploration. It was pointed out, however, that while the computational enablers behind the proposed approach are reaching a stage of maturity, allowing a multitude of concepts to be analysed rapidly and simultaneously, this still is expected to present a challenge from organisational process and resource point of view. It was agreed that by considering a set of aircraft family solutions, the proposed approach would enable the designers to delay critical decisions until more knowledge is available, which helps to mitigate risks associated with innovative systems architectures and technologies.
Supervisor: Guenov, Marin D. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available