Virginia Tech Airworthiness Center (VTAC)
VTAC Technical Director
Virginia Tech has established an Airworthiness Center as a long-term collaborative partnership with the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) and its Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD). The capabilities of Virginia Tech will augment those of NAVAIR by supporting NAVAIR in the conduct of select airworthiness studies, by developing new tools for airworthiness assessment, and by researching new approaches to streamline the airworthiness process. As Technical Director, Dr. Canfield oversees the airworthiness research tasks.
Multidisciplinary Design Optimization (MDO)
Research funded by AFOSR and the AFRL Collaborative Center for Multidisciplinary Sciences (CCMS) investigates sensitivity analysis and surrogate models for MDO. The research group developed continuum sensitivity analysis (CSA) using spatial gradient reconstruction (SGR) for fluid-structure interaction (FSI). CSA is being developed for shape variations in vehicle structures subject to aerodynamic loads. CSA with SGR is being devised to avoid computation of the mesh sensitivity ordinarily needed to differentiate discretized FSI systems with respect to shape variables. The sensitivity analysis is motivated by the need to analyze nonlinear steady-state and transient gust response for novel vehicle concepts ranging from Micro Air Vehicles (MAV's) to high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) vehicles.
AFRL funded research of a high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) joined-wing Sensorcraft (JWSC) for future Air Force intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions. Prior research explored optimal configurations to maximize endurance and radar coverage, while minimizing weight and cost. Efficient analysis methods were developed to accurately predict large, nonlinear aeroelastic response to transient gust loads. A flight test of the 5-meter span, JWSC remotely piloted vehicle (RPV) prototype validated air worthiness to later experimentally demonstrate nonlinear aeroelastic response such as aft wing buckling.
Slotted Waveguide Antenna Stiffened Structure (SWASS)
AFRL Aerospace Systems Directorate funded research to develop MDO methods for the design of conformal load bearing antenna structure (CLAS) whereby radar arrays may be embedded in aircraft skin. For example, slotted waveguide antennas may be used as stringers, skin stiffeners, or the core of a sandwich skin panels in multifunctional structures. We studied four novel Slotted Waveguide Antenna Stiffened Structure (SWASS) concepts and determined the most structurally efficient one.