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Title: Multilevel optimisation of aerospace and lightweight structures incorporating postbuckling effects
Author: Qu, Shuang
ISNI:       0000 0004 2751 9590
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2011
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The optimisation of aerospace structures is a very complex problem, due to the hundreds of design variables a multidisciplinary optimisation may contain, so that multilevel optimisation is required. This thesis presents the recent developments to the multilevel optimisation software VICONOPT MLO, which is a multilevel optimisation interface between the well established analysis and design software packages VICONOPT and MSC/NASTRAN. The software developed is called VICONOPT MLOP (Multilevel Optimisation with Postbuckling), and allows for postbuckling behaviour, using analysis based on the Wittrick-Williams algorithm. The objective of this research is to enable a more detailed insight into the multilevel optimisation and postbuckling behaviour of a complex structure. In VICONOPT MLOP optimisation problems, individual panels of the structural model are allowed to buckle before the design load is reached. These panels continue to carry load with differing levels of reduced stiffness. VICONOPT MLOP creates new MSC/NASTRAN data files based on this reduced stiffness data and iterates through analysis cycles to converge on an appropriate load re-distribution. Once load convergence has been obtained with an appropriate criterion, the converged load distribution is used as a starting point in the optimisation of the constituent panels, i.e. a new design cycle is started, in which the updated ply thicknesses for each panel are calculated by VICONOPT and returned to MSC/NASTRAN through VICONOPT MLOP. Further finite element analysis of the whole structure is then carried out to determine the new stress distributions in each panel. The whole process is repeated until a mass convergence criterion is met. A detailed overview of the functionality of VICONOPT MLOP is presented in the thesis. A case study is conducted into the multilevel optimisation of a composite aircraft wing, to demonstrate the capabilities of VICONOPT MLOP and identify areas for future studies. The results of the case study show substantial mass savings, proving the software's capabilities when dealing with such problems. The time taken for this multilevel optimisation also proves the efficiency of the software.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available