Vertical Flight Society Student Design Competition

Altair is proud to co-sponsor the Vertical Flight Society's 2020-21 Student Design Competition.  Boeing is the primary sponsor of this competition.  Altair is sponsoring a specific task of weight optimization.

The challenge set by Boeing is to design “2025 Unmanned Vertical Lift for Medical Equipment Distribution” with the goal of developing an unmanned vertical lift concept that can deliver, at high speed, up to 50 kg payloads to end-user customer sites up to 50 km radius, and to logistics centers up to 200 km away.

Boeing’s primary evaluation metrics for evaluating conceptual designs are:

  • System safety philosophy/approach. Specific emphasis will be on how safety considerations influenced the design.
  • Productivity for each mission, defined as [(payload * block speed) / gross weight], with gross weight as the surrogate for cost.

Altair software tools and expertise can assist in developing designs to meet these metrics.  This includes our technology for system level design trade-offs, and structural weight reduction while designing fail-safe structures.

Structural Weight Optimization Contest — sponsored by Altair

Reduction of vehicle weight would enable a vertical lift UAS to deliver a higher number of payload kg-km between recharges. Additionally, reduced structural weight offers the potential for using a smaller powerplant, which adds to weight reduction. Structural weight reduction can be achieved most efficiently by applying advanced structural optimization technology. Most modern aircraft are designed using such technology for weight reduction while delivering fail-safe structural designs.

Altair will form a judging committee consisting of experts from Altair and the vertical flight industry, and will provide two prizes for the best application of structural weight optimization: one prize each of $1,000 for undergraduate and graduate teams.

Entries will be judged using the following criteria:

  • Part Selection: Select part(s) that offer significant weight savings potential.
  • Problem Formulation: Quality of optimized design depends heavily on optimization problem formulation.
  • Engineering: The optimization software delivers the best design for the problem one formulates. However, not all design criteria can be included in a structural optimization problem. Hence, optimization results must be augmented with sound engineering to address criteria not included in the optimization formulation. Good engineers use optimization technology to get insight into structural performance and use the results as a guideline rather than a final design.
  • Communication: description and discussion of assumptions, approach, techniques, results in a formal report as well as in a presentation.

Once the winning graduate and undergraduate teams for this Bonus Task have been announced — and prior to teams receiving the prize money — each team will be required to provide Altair with the HyperWorks models and with a proper presentation of the simulation work done.
Participants seeking the bonus task must use Altair HyperWorks for weight optimization. Additional products may be used if the capability offered by that product is not offered by any Altair product.

In addition to HyperWorks models, the winning teams for this task will be required to provide Altair with a three-dimensional computer aided design (CAD) model of the optimized parts that can be 3-D printed or manufactured using traditional methods. The winning teams will also be required to present their findings at an Altair-sponsored webinar and work with Altair to write a case study. Altair will be free to use the material submitted by participants for Altair’s training tutorials as well as marketing purposes.

Altair will provide the following on-request assistance to all the participants:
  • A required number of no-cost licenses of Altair software to teams that intend to participate in the bonus task, request sponsorship below
  • Participants may receive free training at any Altair location or online on any product of their choice, given availability of space

Altair will provide technical application engineering support to each team using local technical teams as much as possible

Altair Congratulates 2019 VFS Student Design Competition winners:

Graduate winners

1st place, Best Weight Optimization Model*: University of Maryland — Caladrius

2nd place, Best New Entry: Seoul National University and Konkuk University — Crane

3rd place, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute — Soteria

Undergraduate winners

1st place, Best Weight Optimization Model*: University of Maryland and Universidad de Carlos III — Tahr

2nd place, Pennsylvania State University — Rescue Cardinal-57

3rd place, Best New Entry: Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology — Drop Bea

* Winners of Altair’s optional task on weight optimization

Success Stories

Read case studies and success stories of how Aerodynamics students and teams have used Altair Software to succeed.