The primary technical objective of Phase II is to develop ZONA’s next-generation commercial software for aeroelastic, aeroservoelastic, and dynamic loads analysis using the CFD-based AIC matrices. The current ZONA's flagship commercial software called ZAERO for aeroelastic analysis has been adopted by many aerospace companies for over 25 years and has over 100 users worldwide. In the heart of ZAERO is the Unified Aerodynamic Influence Coefficient (UAIC) module that generates the structurally independent AIC matrices by solving the linear unsteady potential equation using the panel methods. Because of the linear potential flow assumption, the unsteady panel methods are not valid at transonic Mach numbers nor at high angles of attack. Due to the advances of the CFD methods, we can foresee that the replacement of panel methods by the CFD methods for aeroelastic analysis is on the horizon. To keep ZONA’s competitive edge in the software-licensing market of aeroelastic analysis, ZONA will develop a next generation of ZAERO, herein referred to as ZAERO++ in which the AIC matrix generated by the UAIC module will be replaced by the CFD-based AIC matrix generated by the GENAIC module that we developed in Phase I. With the user and application manuals that will be generated in Phase II, ZAERO++ will become a product-ready commercial software as the outcome of the Phase II effort.
The proposed effort is highly relevant to on-going and future NASA fixed wing projects, which involve innovative design concepts such as the Truss-Braced Wing, Blended Wing Body, and Supersonic Business Jet. The proposed work will offer a computational tool to NASA designers for generating the structurally independent AIC matrix that can be repeatedly used for aeroelastic analysis throughout the structural design cycle.
The proposed CFD-based AIC matrix generator can be applied to many categories of flight vehicles including blended wing-bodies, sub/supersonic transports, reusable launch vehicles, and similar revolutionary concepts pursued. Hence, the proposed research and its outcomes will be highly needed for designing the next generation of civil as well as military aircraft.