The aviation industry is facing currently enormous and multifaceted challenges. On the one hand, the already strong cost pressure has increased massively due to the drop of sales and profits caused by the pandemic. On the other hand, the need to develop new technologies and turn them into new products is more present than ever - primarily driven by the need to minimize greenhouse gases and climate impact in the medium term and eliminate them in the long term.
A promising approach to achieve the aforementioned goals is the introduction of multi-disciplinary optimization (MDO) into the development and manufacturing process. Hereby, new technologies can be integrated quickly and with low risk, as well as development cycles can be massively reduced through digital continuity and cross-discipline incremental improvement. In the field of MDO, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) has reached a technological level through a number of projects – e.g. Digital-X and VicToria - that makes industrial application look extremely worthwhile. A crucial point is the incorporation of fast and reliable methods to ensure the precise assessment of large design spaces.
As a consequence, the goal of this project, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Action (BMWK), is the application of the developed capabilities outside laboratory conditions, in an industrial environment. Based on challenging and industry-relevant design goals - Top Level Aircraft Requirements (TLARs) and further essential industrial constraints - an aircraft concept is to be developed, optimized in interaction with multi-disciplinary methods and its performance finally validated by means of a wind tunnel experiment under real physical conditions.
The innovative approach of the Cyber-Matrix, the core of a flexible, modular MDO, which is based on a distributed solution of the Karush-Kuhn-Tucker condition, is to be emphasized. Both the execution and the implementation of the MDO process are performed in parallel, and are independent of a specific rigid design environment. Any number of disciplines can be linked via the underlying mathematical formulation and quantifiable design decisions can be made. The Institute of Aerodynamics and Flow Technology is the starting point of this MDO approach and will perform the detailed aerodynamic design using gradient-based methods and coordinate the validation measurements at the European Transonic Windtunnel (ETW). This project is a central part of the digitalization of aviation and thereby forms an essential link between method development and virtual certification, establishing a future-oriented so-called "End2End" design environment in industry and research.