The team of Design, Analysis and Research Corporation (DARcorporation) and University of Michigan (UM) propose an open source Distributed Electric Propulsion MDAO (DEP-MDAO) Tool, in which a new framework for aircraft aeropropulsive design optimization that integrates aircraft sizing, propulsion system sizing and distribution, wing design and propeller design will be developed.
The core idea is to optimize all these simultaneously to get the full benefit of distributed electric propulsion. The proposed framework will leverage the open-source tools OpenMDAO (a general framework for the multidisciplinary analysis and optimization) and OpenConcept (an aircraft sizing tool build that uses OpenMDAO). The major advantage of these tools is that they use efficient methods to converge the coupled system and they can compute the sensitivities required for gradient-based optimization. This results in fast optimization cycles, which makes it possible to thoroughly explore trades in the design space.
The goal of the proposed work is to facilitate the DEP integration into an aircraft by developing an open source optimization analysis tool, DEP-MDAO. The followings are the detailed technical objectives of the project:
The proposed tool is directly aligned with NASA CFD Vision 2030 Study and it directly addresses the research challenges of NASA ARMD Strategic Thrust 3: “Ultra-Efficient Commercial Vehicles”.
The resulting tools will be directly applicable for a vast array of aerospace vehicles. DARcorporation envisions the initial NASA market to be primarily in unconventional aircraft design including unconventional UAV design.
The newly developed tool will be offered as a standalone design software to potential customers, such as the US Army, the Air Force and the Navy. The proposed tool will also draw interest from universities, institutes and aircraft manufacturers who frequently explore novel and efficient aircraft designs as well current DARcorporation clients or prospective clients.