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Automatic generation of global shell-element meshes for large-scale structural design optimization


In aircraft design, unconventional configurations have gained significant recent interest due to increasing demands for greater efficiency as well as emerging applications such as urban air mobility. Since traditional empirical models are not applicable for unconventional aircraft, high-fidelity computational design methods like large-scale design optimization can be employed. However, building up models for such unconventional aircraft is time-consuming and requires a large amount of manual work during the iterative design process. Generating a mesh of a structure with complicated geometry is one of the difficult steps. We present a fully automatic approach for constructing quadrilateral meshes for shell-element analysis of aircraft structures. The method is designed to produce highly isotropic meshes while guaranteeing the coincidence of the nodes of the meshes of internal members and the structural skin. This paper also presents the applications of the algorithm on the OWN-06c Transonic Airliner from OpenVSP and the eVTOL eCRM-002 from Uber. The results show that our algorithm is simple, efficient, and versatile, which basically fulfills all the requirements of generating shell element meshes for aircraft.

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