Numerical Method for Cost-Weight Optimisation of Stringer-Skin Panels

Richard Curran, A. Rothwell, Sylvie Castagne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The need to integrate cost into the early product definition process as an engineering parameter is addressed. The application studied is a fuselage panel that is typical for commercial transport regional jets. Consequently, a semi-empirical numerical analysis using reference data was coupled to model the structural integrity of thin-walled structures with regard to material failure and buckling: skin, stringer, flexural, and interrivet. The optimization process focuses on direct operating cost (DOC) as a function of acquisition cost and fuel burn. It was found that the ratio of acquisition cost to fuel burn was typically 4:3 and that there was a 10% improvement in the DOC for the minimal DOC condition over the minimal weight condition because of the manufacturing cost saving from having a reduced number of larger-area stringers and a slightly thicker skin than that preferred by the minimal weight condition. Also note that the minimal manufacturing cost condition was slightly better than the minimal weight condition, which highlights the key finding: The traditional minimal weight condition is a dated and suboptimal approach to airframe structural design.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)264-274
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Aircraft
Volume43 (1)
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2006


Dive into the research topics of 'Numerical Method for Cost-Weight Optimisation of Stringer-Skin Panels'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this