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International Journal of Aerospace Engineering
Volume 2015, Article ID 325724, 19 pages
Research Article

Knowledge-Based Shape Optimization of Morphing Wing for More Efficient Aircraft

Department of Aerospace Science and Technology, Politecnico di Milano, Via La Masa 34, 20156 Milano, Italy

Received 31 March 2015; Revised 22 July 2015; Accepted 31 August 2015

Academic Editor: Ning Qin

Copyright © 2015 Alessandro De Gaspari and Sergio Ricci. 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.


An optimization procedure for the shape design of morphing aircraft is presented. The process is coupled with a knowledge-based framework combining parametric geometry representation, multidisciplinary modelling, and genetic algorithm. The parameterization method exploits the implicit properties of the Bernstein polynomial least squares fitting to allow both local and global shape control. The framework is able to introduce morphing shape changes in a feasible way, taking into account the presence of structural parts, such as the wing-box, the physical behaviour of the morphing skins, and the effects that these modifications have on the aerodynamic performances. It inherits CAD capabilities of generating 3D deformed morphing shapes and it is able to automatically produce aerodynamic and structural models linked to the same parametric geometry. Dedicated crossover and mutation strategies are used to allow the parametric framework to be efficiently incorporated into the genetic algorithm. This procedure is applied to the shape design of Reference Aircraft (RA) and to the assessment of the potential benefits that morphing devices can bring in terms of aircraft performances. It is adopted for the design of a variable camber morphing wing to investigate the effect of conformal leading and trailing edge control surfaces. Results concerning four different morphing configurations are reported.