Structural Design Optimization of a Tiltrotor Aircraft Composite Wing to Enhance Whirl Flutter Stability

Taeseong Kim, Jaehoon Kim, Sang Joon Shin, Do-Hyung Kom

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In order to enhance the aeroelastic stability of a tiltrotor aircraft, a structural optimization framework is developed by applying a multi-level optimization approach. Each optimization level is designed to achieve a different purpose; therefore, relevant optimization schemes are selected for each level. Enhancement of the aeroelastic stability is selected as an objective in the upper-level optimization. This is achieved by seeking the optimal structural properties of a composite wing, including its mass, vertical, chordwise, and torsional stiffness. In the upper-level optimization, the response surface method (RSM), is selected. On the other hand, lower-level optimization seeks to determine the local detailed cross-sectional parameters, such as the ply orientation angles and ply thickness, which are relevant to the wing structural properties obtained at the upper-level. To avoid manufacturing difficulties, only a few discrete ply orientation angles and an integral number of plies are considered as constraints. A genetic algorithm is selected as the optimizer at the lower-level. Use of the upper-level optimization causes a 13-18% increase in the flutter speed when compared to the baseline configuration. In the lower-level optimization, the optimization results were obtained considering the resulting failure margin and the location of the shear center.
Original languageEnglish
JournalComposite Structures
Pages (from-to)283–294
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Multi-level optimization
  • Response surface method
  • Tiltrotor aircraft
  • Whirl flutter analysis
  • Composite wing

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