Composites Science and Technology vol:68 issue:13 pages:2748-2754
Composite structures can lower the weight of an airliner significantly. The increased production cost, however, requires the application of cost-effective design strategies in which cost, weight and the desired laminate quality are taken into account. This paper proposes an optimization framework for composite aircraft structures that minimizes the direct operating cost on a part level. In addition to previous models, a non-destructive testing model is implemented that calculates design allowables of a laminate based on the ultrasonic scan parameters. In a case study, the effect of the laminate quality on the direct operating cost is discussed. It is investigated how the flaw size and therefore the scan pitch of a composite laminate can influence the optimal solution in terms of cost and weight; thus, the manufacturing cost, the non-destructive testing cost and the weight of a component can be balanced by optimizing the laminate quality in an early design phase. (c) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.