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International Journal of Aerospace Engineering
Volume 2011, Article ID 154798, 14 pages
Research Article

Reengineering Aircraft Structural Life Prediction Using a Digital Twin

1Structural Sciences Center, Air Vehicles Directorate, U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, OH 45433, USA
2School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA

Received 25 April 2011; Accepted 2 August 2011

Academic Editor: Nicholas Bellinger

Copyright © 2011 Eric J. Tuegel et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Reengineering of the aircraft structural life prediction process to fully exploit advances in very high performance digital computing is proposed. The proposed process utilizes an ultrahigh fidelity model of individual aircraft by tail number, a Digital Twin, to integrate computation of structural deflections and temperatures in response to flight conditions, with resulting local damage and material state evolution. A conceptual model of how the Digital Twin can be used for predicting the life of aircraft structure and assuring its structural integrity is presented. The technical challenges to developing and deploying a Digital Twin are discussed in detail.