Investigating the influence of uncertainty in novel airframe technologies on realizing ultra-high aspect ratio wings

Yiyuan Ma, Edmondo Minisci, Ali Elham

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This work studies the influence of uncertainty analysis on the unconventional aircraft conceptual design outcomes. The SBW and TF configurations are considered for the Short-Range (SR), Mid-Range (MR) and Long-Range (LR) missions, respectively. Conceptual design and analysis methodologies for the SBW and TF configurations are developed. Besides, the uncertainty analysis, constrained optimisation and global sensitivity analysis methodologies are presented. The proposed conceptual design methods are used to design an SBW and a TF aircraft for each mission, respectively, and the best-in-class configuration for each mission is initially obtained. Then the main uncertainties of each aircraft are identified and constrained optimisation is applied to find the best-case configuration with the objective function of the fuel weight. Moreover, a surrogate-based cut-HDMR method is used for the global sensitivity analysis to identify the most critical uncertainties and quantify their influences on the objective function. The results showed that according to the conceptual design results, the SBW configuration is the best-case for the SR mission, while the TF configuration is the best-case configuration for the MR and LR missions. Six main uncertainties, including four technologies-related and two mission-related parameters, are identified. The performed uncertainty analyses point out that, while there is not appreciable difference in terms of robustness against the operative and technology uncertainties for the SR mission configurations, the TF configuration is also more robust for MR and LR missions. Moreover, the sensitivity analyses assists in understanding which are the main uncertain drivers for each configuration and mission.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jul 2021
EventAeroBest 2021: An ECCOMAS Thematic Conference on Multidisciplinary Design Optimization of Aerospace Systems - Virtual, Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 21 Jul 202123 Jul 2021


ConferenceAeroBest 2021
Abbreviated titleAeroBest 2021
Internet address


  • uncertainty analysis
  • conceptual design
  • global sensitivity analysis
  • configuration comparative study


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