Aeroelastic Optimization of Variable Stiffness Composite Wing with Blending Constraints

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Optimizing the laminates of large composite structures is nowadays well-recognized as having significant benefits in the design of lightweight structural solutions. However, designs based on locally optimized laminates are prone to structural discontinuities and enforcing blending during the optimization is therefore crucial in order to achieve structurally continuous and ready-tomanufacture designs. Bi-step strategies, relying on a continuous gradient-based optimization of lamination parameters followed by a discrete stacking sequence optimization step during which blending is enforced, have been proposed in the literature. However, significant mismatch between continuous and discrete solutions were observed due to the discrepancies between both design spaces. The present paper highlights the capability of the continuous blending constraints, recently proposed by the authors, in reducing the discrepancies between discrete and continuous solutions. The paper also demonstrates that more realistic optimal continuous designs are achieved thanks to the application of the blending constraints during the aeroelastic optimization of a variable stiffness wing. Additionally, the proposed blending constraints have been applied to NASTRAN SOL 200 showing their ease of implementation in commercial software.