The Evolving Role of Computer-Aided Engineering: A Case Study in the Aeronautical Structural Design

  • Pietro CervelleraEmail author


This chapter discusses some aspects of how the evolution of computer-aided engineering has affected product design practise. As a case study we describe the main challenges of aeronautical structural design and how the role of Computer-Aided Engineering—CAE evolves to deliver fundamental process improvements. It is outlined the double function of simulation: early in the initial design phases, it supports engineering and decision-making, whereas in later phases it helps in validating the design with respect to specifications. The validation function is widely practised in the industry and this is where most investment in simulation is made. While its importance is recognized, the engineering function is still underestimated in terms of technology availability, resources and investment. Zooming-in on the technology aspect, two industrial applications of Finite Element-based structural optimization are presented, which illustrates the important impact of such technology on the engineering function. These examples allow us to lead the discussion further on how to close the gap between “state-of-the-art” technology and its exploitation in “state-of-the-art” processes.


Finite Element Analysis Topology Optimization Aircraft Design Outer Skin Vertical Stabilizer 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited  2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Altair EngineeringMunichGermany

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