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International Journal of Aerospace Engineering
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 4805817, 13 pages
Research Article

Flight Loads Prediction of High Aspect Ratio Wing Aircraft Using Multibody Dynamics

1Department of Aerospace Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TR, UK
2Aerospace Centre of Competence, Siemens PLM Software, 3001 Leuven, Belgium

Received 10 August 2016; Revised 4 November 2016; Accepted 29 November 2016

Academic Editor: Kenneth M. Sobel

Copyright © 2016 Michele Castellani 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.


A framework based on multibody dynamics has been developed for the static and dynamic aeroelastic analyses of flexible high aspect ratio wing aircraft subject to structural geometric nonlinearities. Multibody dynamics allows kinematic nonlinearities and nonlinear relationships in the forces definition and is an efficient and promising methodology to model high aspect ratio wings, which are known to be prone to structural nonlinear effects because of the high deflections in flight. The multibody dynamics framework developed employs quasi-steady aerodynamics strip theory and discretizes the wing as a series of rigid bodies interconnected by beam elements, representative of the stiffness distribution, which can undergo arbitrarily large displacements and rotations. The method is applied to a flexible high aspect ratio wing commercial aircraft and both trim and gust response analyses are performed in order to calculate flight loads. These results are then compared to those obtained with the standard linear aeroelastic approach provided by the Finite Element Solver Nastran. Nonlinear effects come into play mainly because of the need of taking into account the large deflections of the wing for flight loads computation and of considering the aerodynamic forces as follower forces.