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Flexible Multi-Disciplinary Design Optimisation of Next Generation Commercial Aircraft Using Open-Source Methods and Tools

Academic lead
Greg de Boer, Mech Eng
Industrial lead
Martin Muir​, Airbus
Amir Khan, Civil Eng
Project themes
Energy and Transport

The next generation of commercial aircraft must meet exceptionally challenging design requirements including the use of hydrogen and/or electric powered jet engines to deliver on the emissions dedications of current government policies and ensure the long-term sustainability of accessible flight. This project will deliver a flexible multidisciplinary design optimisation framework for a conventional passenger aircraft under specific requirements set with project collaborators at Airbus. The developed method will investigate the aerodynamic, structural and energy disciplines of novel aircraft configurations looking specifically at the choice of power plant (hydrogen or electric), aircraft layout, wing sizing, fuel storage and cabin capacity. Contrail formation and the effect on aircraft performance under long range, high altitude and high speed flight conditions will form the major area of development for this project. This remains a major contributor to the current emissions of commercial aircraft and poses a significant challenge to deliver a next generation optimised aircraft configurations which maximise performance. The use of open-source methods and tools will allow research outcomes to be widely disseminated within the aerospace scientific community. Innovations in design optimisation techniques will be implemented as well as new techniques for modelling hydrogen and electric propulsion systems.