Skip to content

Multidisciplinary structural optimization

Multidisciplinary optimization system for the detailed design of lightweight composite structures

No other topics have determined the development of aviation from the very beginning like the developments of lightweight structural elements and efficient propulsion systems. Improvements in one of these two areas result in immediate advantages for the performance of an aircraft, for example, in terms of payload, range or fuel consumption.

Together with engineers from Airbus Defence and Space, RISC Software GmbH has been working for more than ten years on the further development of a software system for calculating and designing weight-optimized aircraft structures. Of particular importance here is that the optimum geometry and the best possible use of specialized materials for the overall structure can be considered at the earliest possible design stage. At this stage, the design freedoms are greatest and thus the greatest potential for weight savings is available. To enable this, the Lagrange multidisciplinary structural optimization system has been developed at Airbus Defence and Space to help optimize lightweight structures with respect to different design parameters. Examples of design parameters include cross-sections of individual components or entire component groups, but also layer thicknesses and trajectories of fiber composite materials.

In addition to the design goal of achieving a minimum weight for a structural element, a large number of different mechanical and physical requirements must be taken into account at the same time. The Lagrange optimization system provides a wide range of relevant multidisciplinary analysis and criteria models. Thus, in addition to a number of mechanical strength criteria and stability criteria, different restrictions regarding natural vibrations, flutter velocities or other aeroelastic interactions can be formulated. A key method for automating the overall design process is coupled aerodynamic-structural analysis (aeroelasticity).

This allows aerodynamic loads to be actively influenced during the design process as part of the optimization in addition to the dimensioning of the structural elements. In addition, Lagrange also allows special manufacturing restrictions for fiber composites to be taken into account, ensuring that the calculated designs can also be manufactured using the available methods. This means that very realistic design drafts, whose models contain several thousand design variables and several hundred thousand boundary conditions, can be optimized right at the beginning of the design phase. Since 2009, RISC Software GmbH has been the main development partner for the new development of central system parts of Lagrange. Of particular importance is the implementation of state-of-the-art, efficient computational methods and the best possible use of modern hardware platforms, especially with regard to parallel and distributed computer architectures.

Project partner

Project Details

  • Project short title: Multidisciplinary structural optimization
  • Project long title: Multidisciplinary optimization system for the detailed design of lightweight composite structures
  • Project partner:
    • Airbus Defense and Space
  • Duration: ongoing

Contact person

    Dr. DI Christoph Hofer, BSc

    Software Engineer