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Preliminary Conceptual Aeroelastic Design

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Undergraduate Aerospace Labs/Design II

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1008.1 - 10.1008.9

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Paper Authors

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Jean-Michel Dhainaut

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract


Jean-Michel Dhainaut Embry-Riddle University Daytona Beach, FL 32114


The purpose of this paper was to develop a computer program for the preliminary design of wings and empennages at any flight regime for transport aircraft. Starting from a reduced geometry, material and aerodynamic data the flutter boundaries were accurately predicted, and the basic layout of the structure designed. The program was developed in Matlab with integrated data used for corrections of the bending frequency due to the sweep angle, and the flutter velocity due to compressibility effects at high Mach numbers. The procedure exposed could be applied towards the certification and the development of scale prototype demonstrating key design and technological aspects. This program could be used by the private sector in order to reduce risks in developing reliable vehicles, and by student as a preliminary aircraft design tool. Results include a sample of the Matlab input file, flutter boundaries at different altitudes, and some design figures changing structural and aerodynamic parameters are also addressed.


Since the beginning of modern aviation, engineers have been designing faster aircraft, and have constantly been pushing the limits of new available technologies. Many are now working to push the speed envelope to the next great frontier, that of hypersonic speed. From the classic design of the first aircraft to the more futuristic design of the Waverider (X-43) that uses its own shock wave to improve its overall performance, all need wings and empennages to assure stability and maneuvering during flight. At the early conceptual design stage it is often necessary to obtain initial estimates for divergence and flutter, when only the basic geometry of the wing/tail surface are known, and much of the structural and aerodynamic properties are yet to be established1. Parametric studies to determine the effect of varying some of the structural-aerodynamic variables on the flutter instability boundary are convenient. The selected approach for the parametric studies was the conceptual analysis that is comprehensive and widely used in the aeroelasticity community. Generally speaking, conceptual flutter analysis has been proven extremely successful in the last decades. Disagreement between calculated flutter speed and experimental value is attributed to poor aerodynamic assumptions. The discrepancy between theoretical and experimental values is primarily due to the compressibility effect that is extremely hard to include in present aeroelastic formulations. Depending on the applications, one theory may have advantages over another. The author decided to select simpler, more readily available, approximate Proceedings of the 2005 American Society of Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright @ 2005, American Society of Engineering Education

Dhainaut, J. (2005, June), Preliminary Conceptual Aeroelastic Design Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon.

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