Performance based multidisciplinary design optimization of morphing aircraft

Frederico Afonso, José Vale, Fernando Lau, Afzal Suleman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


The aeronautical industry is currently facing contradictory aircraft design requirements. There is a need to increase speed and capacity while minimizing the environmental impact. Novel configurations and morphing solutions are being proposed to address these requirements. In order to achieve the optimal aircraft configuration or the best morphing solution for a given mission, it is necessary to explore Multidisciplinary Design Optimization (MDO) solutions during the conceptual design phase. To this end, a MDO framework is proposed for conceptual design and analysis of new aircraft configurations, including the capability to analyze and quantify the effect of morphing wing solutions on aircraft performance. To illustrate the versatility and capabilities of the MDO tool, the design of a morphing wingtip on a conventional aircraft for two different flight conditions is assessed based on a reference model transport aircraft. Also, the performance of a morphing bending and twist control applied to a reference joined-wing configuration to improve lateral-directional stability is quantified. The results obtained show a significant reduction in fuel consumption when introducing a wingtip, although an incremental and negligible reduction was verified when enabling the wingtip with morphing capabilities. A considerable increase in yaw authority was achieved for the joined-wing model with the bending-twist morphing wingtip, however this morphing concept was not able to reach the same roll authority as conventional ailerons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalAerospace Science and Technology
Early online date23 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2017


  • joined-wing
  • morphing aircraft
  • multidisciplinary design optimization
  • preliminary aircraft design


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