Document Type

Conference Paper

Journal/Book Title/Conference

AIAA Scitech 2021 Forum

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Last Page



As contemporary aerostructural research in aircraft design trends toward high-fidelity computational methods, aerostructural solutions based on theory are often neglected or forgotten. In fact, in many modern aerostructural wing optimization studies, the elliptic lift distribution is used as a benchmark in place of theoretical aerostructural solutions with more appropriate constraints. In this paper, we review several theoretical aerostructural solutions that could be used as benchmark cases for wing design studies, and we compare them to high-fidelity solutions with similar constraints. Solutions are presented for studies with 1) constraints related to the wing integrated bending moment, 2) constraints related to the wing root bending moment, and 3) structural constraints combined with constraints on either wing stall or wing loading. It is shown that for each set of design constraints, the theoretical optimum lift distribution consistently shows excellent agreement with high-fidelity results. It follows that theoretical optimum lift distributions can often serve as a good benchmark for higher fidelity aerostructural wing optimization methods. Moreover, a review of solutions for the optimum wingspan and corresponding drag reveals important insights into the effects of viscosity, aeroelasticity, and compressibility on the aerodynamic and structural coupling involved in wing design and optimization.