QtWS16- Radical Changes in the Aircraft Design Process Through Software, German Aerospace Center

August 23, 2017
Day 1 at QtWS16, Margin Siggel, German Aerospace Center "Radical Changes in the Aircraft Design Process Through Software" The aircraft design process is a complex task, where experts from many different engineering disciplines cooperate on a single objective. Considering each discipline is responsible for only a small part of the entire aircraft – e.g. for the engine, the aerodynamics, or for the loads put to the aircraft structure – the design of a complete aircraft traditionally requires extensive communication between the experts and is therefore a very long and iterative process. In this talk we want to address, how recent software framework and tool developments are changing this situation radically. The large project Digital-X of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) aims at a fully computer-based design of the aircraft and offers a complete virtual flight testing system. This includes an automated analysis and optimization of the entire aircraft. The main idea of the project is a fully automated process, which does not only decrease the time for the aircraft design but also enables the analysis of futuristic non-conventional aircraft appearances. One of our major software developments is the integration framework RCE (Remote Component Environment), which allows coupling many different simulation programs to an automated workflow and steers the data flow between these tools – even across networks to connect different locations of our company. A typical aircraft design workflow includes tools for – design parameterization, – geometry and mesh generation, – the analysis of the aircraft structure, aerodynamics, flight dynamics, – and optimization algorithms. A growing number of these tools are now developed as Open Source Software. Qt plays a constantly increasing role for our software development: One example is DLR’s TiGL library for the generation of aircraft geometries, which is hosted on Github. Its user interface uses Qt to render a 3D visualization of the aircraft geometries. This C++ based software runs on all major desktop systems and additionally on Android, currently with a hybrid Java/C++ implementation. Another Open Source Software is DataFinder, which allows storing and retrieving all the generated simulation data in a convenient and secure way. In this case, PyQt is used for the generation of the user interface. With the automated design and analysis process, DLR is now able to provide a rapid evaluation of novel innovative aircraft design concepts, such as the Blended Wing Body. In an additional presentation in the Qt Application Development & Device Creation session we address some of the Qt specific practices in DLR’s software GTlab for turbomachinery design.
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