Cost Studies for Commercial Fuselage Crown Designs

Walker, T.H.

First NASA Advanced Composite Technology Conference, NASA CP-3104, 1991.

Studies were conducted to evaluate the cost and weight potential of advanced composite design concepts in the crown region of a commercial transport. Two designs from each of three design families were developed using an integrated design-build team. A range of design concepts and manufacturing processes were included to allow isolation and comparison of cost centers. Detailed manufacturing/assembly plans were developed as the basis for cost estimates. Each of the six designs was found to have advantages over the 1995 aluminum benchmark in cost and weight trade studies. Large quadrant panels and cobonded frames were found to save significant assembly labor costs. Comparisons of high- and intermediate-performance fiber systems were made for skin and stringer applications. Advanced tow placement was found to be an efficient process for skin lay up. Further analysis revealed attractive processes for stringers and frames. Optimized designs were informally developed for each design family, combining the most attractive concepts and processes within that family. A single optimized design was selected as the most promising, and the potential for further optimization was estimated. Technical issues and barriers were identified.