Advanced Structure Concepts for Next-generation Fuel-Efficient Airplane

Date: 2024/02/19 - 2024/02/19

Academic Seminar: Advanced Structure Concepts for Next-generation Fuel-Efficient


Speaker: Wei Zhao, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Time: 9:00 -10:00 a.m., Feb. 19. 2024 (Beijing Time)

Location: CIMC Auditorium (Room 300), JI Long Bin Building


To achieve a net-zero greenhouse gas emission from U.S. aviation by 2050, various innovative airplane designs have been proposed to address this ambitious climate target. With the advancements in both computational capabilities and the manufacturing technologies, load path inspired stiffening structure designs and morphing wings have been considered for the fuel-efficient airplane designs. The curved stiffening members for the wingbox design and the morphing wing concept using the NASA developed Variable Camber Continuous Trailing-edge Flaps (VCCTEF) both demonstrate the improved aircraft performance in terms of weight saving and aerodynamic drag reduction compared to the conventional airplane design. For the buckling constraint dominant thin-walled lightweight wing structure design, curved stiffeners and tow steered laminates are able to tailor buckling the mode shape and redistribute the in-plane load resultants in a favorable way to increase the buckling load during the aircraft design optimization studies. To reduce the aerodynamic drag and subsequent engine fuel consumption, the VCCTEF for the wingbox design has been found to tailor the lift distribution to reduce the induced drag and profile drags simultaneously while enabling less VCCTEF actuators’ control power consumption.


Dr. Wei Zhao is an Assistant Professor within the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Oklahoma State University. He earned his Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from Virginia Tech in 2017. Dr. Zhao's research areas focus on aerospace structure design, manufacturing and testing, and aircraft multidisciplinary design, analysis, and optimization. Dr. Zhao received multiple support from NASA. His research work on fuel-efficient airplane designs and lightweight additive manufactured structures has been featured by AIAAAerospace America annual review multiple times. Dr. Zhao is a senior member of AIAA.

He has been elected as the member in the AIAA Structure Technical Committee and ASME Structure Material Technical Committee.