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Computational workflow management for conceptual design of complex systems: an air-vehicle design perspective

By Libish Kalathil Balachandran


The decisions taken during the aircraft conceptual design stage are of paramount importance since these commit up to eighty percent of the product life cycle costs. Thus in order to obtain a sound baseline which can then be passed on to the subsequent design phases, various studies ought to be carried out during this stage. These include trade-off analysis and multidisciplinary optimisation performed on computational processes assembled from hundreds of relatively simple mathematical models describing the underlying physics and other relevant characteristics of the aircraft. However, the growing complexity of aircraft design in recent years has prompted engineers to substitute the conventional algebraic equations with compiled software programs (referred to as models in this thesis) which still retain the mathematical models, but allow for a controlled expansion and manipulation of the computational system. This tendency has posed the research question of how to dynamically assemble and solve a system of non-linear models. In this context, the objective of the present research has been to develop methods which significantly increase the flexibility and efficiency with which the designer is able to operate on large scale computational multidisciplinary systems at the conceptual design stage. In order to achieve this objective a novel computational process modelling method has been developed for generating computational plans for a system of non-linear models. The computational process modelling was subdivided into variable flow modelling, decomposition and sequencing. A novel method named Incidence Matrix Method (IMM) was developed for variable flow modelling, which is the process of identifying the data flow between the models based on a given set of input variables. This method has the advantage of rapidly producing feasible variable flow models, for a system of models with multiple outputs. In addition, criteria were derived for choosing the optimal variable flow model which would lead to faster convergence of the system. Cont/d

Topics: Aircraft Conceptual Design, Computational Tools, Constraint Management, Decomposition, Design Structure Matrix, Incidence Matrix, Object Oriented Modelling, Rearrangement, Scheduling, Strongly Connected Components, Variable Flow Modelling
Publisher: Cranfield University
Year: 2007
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Cranfield CERES

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