Aeroelastic Preliminary-Design Optimization of Communication Tower Structures

AIAA Scitech

By: Vishvas Suryakumar, Paul Varkey, Ben Thomsen, Jack Marriott, David Liu, Abhishek Tiwari

Abstract

An aero-structural optimization framework is presented to derive cost-optimal designs for communication tower structures. Preliminary designs are sought given certain high-level requirements such as tower height, wind speed and antenna loading. In order to rapidly search the design space, low-order modeling is emphasized for computational efficiency. Accordingly, appropriate engineering assumptions are enforced where applicable. Simplified finite-element methods are employed to model structural behavior. Aerodynamic loading on the structure is built-up from drag coefficients that are estimated for various tower elements. Re-analysis data from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) is used to derive a worldwide 3-sec gust distribution for a 50 year return period. To bound the design space, optimization constraints are obtained from a commonly used design standard in the US for antenna structures: TIA-222-G. Validation results are provided comparing tower deflections with those obtained from higher-fidelity tools. Finally, a country-wide tower deployment planning case-study is illustrated utilizing this sizing approach.