An interior side wall mounting plate within a Bombardier aircraft was redesigned to demonstrate the efficacy of a proposed cost minimization design methodology using additive manufacturing (AM) and topology optimization (TO). The original mounting plate design was limited using traditional manufacturing methods and materials. TO is an advanced computational design tool used to determine the ideal layout of material within a given design domain to maximize structural performance. The cost minimization redesign process, driven by a topology optimization-based DfAM (design for additive manufacturing), was successfully applied to this aircraft component to achieve a 61% cost reduction. Given that TO typically produces geometrically complex structures, AM is a great complement to TO as increases in part complexity are essentially free of cost. Topology optimization was performed to support the additive-manufactured based redesign process by providing an efficient material layout specific to various inertial and abuse loads. The finalized redesign consisted of a single 3D-printed polymer component made from the material ULTEM 9085, which was chosen due to its favorable flammability characteristics that are vital to aircraft certification. The additive manufactured part replaced a previously machined metallic component, resulting in a significant manufacturing cost reduction. To verify the redesigned mounting plate met all performance criteria, a finite element stress analysis was performed on the component and interfacing structures. The appropriate ultimate loads were applied to the structure and the redesigned component met the no-failure stress performance criteria as well as all other project objectives.
- Utilize additive manufacturing and topology optimization in a newly proposed cost-minimization design process for commercial components
- Understand and address the challenges associated with designing for additive manufacturing in the aerospace industry