Design Engineering

Design Engineering
Technology advances in Design Engineering emerged in many products and design
concepts in 2010. Model Based Design (MBD) and advances in multi-disciplinary
optimization have had more influence on the design process while rapid manufacturing
processes continue to evolve to lower cost and increase performance of components and
X-51A Waverider
The AFRL/DARPA/Boeing/PWR X-51A Waverider, designed using a multidisciplinary
design optimization approach (MDO), successfully flew at a speed of nearly Mach five
for almost three minutes powered by a hydrocarbon-fueled dual-mode scramjet. Vehicle
angle of attack, tail deflection angles, drag, and thrust measured in flight were all very
close to predictions, validating the MDO approach used by Boeing to design the vehicle.
Looking to the future, an innovative air-breathing vehicle concept was designed by
Astrox, ASC/XR, AFRL, and Boeing to be the reusable second stage of a two-stage-toorbit launch system boosted by a reusable rocket first stage. The second stage is powered
by rocket-based combined-cycle (RBCC) engines fueled by methane and LOX/hydrogen.
The vehicle employs innovative design features such as twin three-dimensional inwardturning inlet flow paths and engines mounted on the vehicle upper surface to shield them
from dense high-temperature air during atmospheric entry, thus avoiding engine thermal
protection and/or management challenges normally present during un-powered flight.
The X-51A was a significant step forward in proving the viability of hypersonic RBCC
engines. A completely reusable launch system could one day dramatically reduce the cost
and increase the frequency of space access.
F-35 Lightening II Joint Strike Fighter
The avionics in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) takes significant advantage of
commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components and sub-systems. Design engineers of the
avionics systems have implemented design processes that not only satisfy requirements
with today’s components but also allows for faster integration and qualification of future
components due to the nature of using COTS hardware. By utilizing a Model Based
Design (MBD) approach and higher order software languages, performance of
components and interfaces to other components can be well defined and implemented.
Performance of these components and sub-systems can easily be verified in simulation
and new components can be evaluated prior to any actual component procurement.
Along with using standard interfaces, this approach can reduce the time to certify new
components from 3-4 years to as little as 6 months, which not only reduces the cost to
integrate new components but also will allow rapid insertion of new hardware to address
the major problem of obsolescence when using COTS hardware.
Additive Manufacturing
Rapid prototyping has been a staple of engineering development for more than two
decades now. Advances in materials, speed and part accuracy have transitioned this
process from just prototyping to low quantity or early production parts. New materials
and processes have now been developed that will replace conventional manufacturing for
some components and materials using additive processes. Analysis by companies such as
Northrup-Grumman has shown a 35 – 45 percent reduction in total cost of a part. Parts
made with materials such as titanium, nickel and aluminum high performance alloys are
now being manufactured with a variety of additive processes. These processes include
Direct Metal Laser Sintering, Selective Laser Sintering, Selective Laser Melting and
others. These parts retain the properties of their conventionally manufactured
counterparts and can be heat treated and finished using the same processes. They require
little to no additional machining processes and in some cases, can be manufactured with
thinner walls than traditional forgings and castings reducing component weight. As the
materials and additive manufacturing processes continue to improve, more and more
opportunities for lower cost and higher performing components will arise.
X-51A Waverider
F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Cockpit
EOSINT M 270 Direct Metal Laser Sintering Machine