Towards Nature: Practical Design & Manufacturing Techniques to Deliver Biomimetic Composite Aerostructures
|More than 500 years ago Leonardo Da Vinci conceived of highly detailed heavier-than-air flying machines based on evolutionary traits he observed in birds while watching them during flight. Unfortunately, Da Vinci was never able to build nor test any of his flying machine designs as the technologies and materials necessary to build such advanced devises did not exist in his lifetime. Fast forward 400 years and the Wright Brothers are able to conquer heavier-than-air powered flight through a combination of elegant biomimetic design and sheer power (comparative statement for their time). Fast forward another 100 years to now, and we are still largely in the same position as the Wright Brothers were in 1903 and Leonardo Di Vinci in 1488. We are able to observe and understand how birds evolved over millions of years to attain flight, but we are largely not able reduce those observations to practice and design and manufacture optimized aircraft structures using those observations.
Today, however, we are starting to take steps in the right direction through the development of advanced modeling and simulation techniques like topology optimization, and composite manufacturing techniques like continuous manufacturing, tailored fiber placement, and others. This presentation will review the application of topology optimization software and composite manufacturing capabilities that enable the design and manufacture of highly efficient, bio-inspired, aircraft structures. The case studies examined in this presentation will begin with basic coupon level modeling and manufacturing trials and increase in complexity with the objective of manufacturing a topology optimized wing for an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.