Conceptual Design and Comparative Study of Strut-Braced Wing and Twin-Fuselage Aircraft Configurations with Ultra-High Aspect Ratio Wings

Sustainable and fuel-efficient next-generation air transportation demands a step change in aircraft performance. The ultra-high aspect ratio wings (UHARW) configuration is one key enabling strategy for improving aircraft aerodynamic efficiency and reducing fuel consumption and emissions. Unconventional aircraft configurations and novel airframe technologies are required to address the large bending moment, and shear stresses in the UHARW structure. This paper considers two promising unconventional configurations suitable for adopting UHARW design, including strut-braced-wing (SBW) and twin-fuselage (TF), equipped with novel airframe technologies, i.e., active flow control, active load alleviation, and novel airframe structures and materials. Three typical missions, including short-range (SR), medium-range (MR), and long-range (LR), are considered for aircraft design. A conceptual design and performance analysis framework for the SBW and TF configurations with novel airframe technologies is developed in this paper by integrating and improving several methods and tools. According to the mission profile and top-level requirements proposed for each mission, an SBW and a TF configuration are designed for each class of aircraft. A comparative study is carried out to determine the best-in-class configuration of the corresponding mission. The results showed that the TF configuration has a better wing weight reduction effect than the SBW configuration, and the MR-TF and LR-TF aircraft have lower takeoff weight and fuel weight than the SBW aircraft for the same mission. However, due to the adjustment of the dimensions for the cabin arrangement of the SR-TF aircraft, the SBW configuration outperforms the TF configuration in this mission.


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