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Optimization Analysis on the Crashworthiness

of Light Aircrafts
Pu-Woei Chen
Tamkang University, New Taipei City, Taiwan

Yung-Yun Chen
Tamkang University, New Taipei City, Taiwan

ABSTRACT
To protect passengers, large aircraft are equipped with multiple mechanisms to
absorb impact energy during a crash. However, light aircraft rely only on the cabin
structure to withstand the compression and energy generated during a crash. This
study performed a topology optimization analysis on the model structure by using
Abaqus/optimization and used strain energy as the objective function and cabin
volume as a constraint to develop the optimal model. Subsequently, this work
performed dynamic crash simulations based on the optimal and original models by
using Abaqus/explicit. Compared with the original model, the optimal model
yielded a 12% increase in the safety zone of the diagonal beams, a 13% increase in
the X-direction safety zone, and a 10% increase in the overall safety zone. The
results confirm that topology optimization can be used to effectively improve the
crashworthiness of light aircraft.

Keywords:Abaqus, Cabin, Fuselage, Crashworthiness, Finite Element Method,


Impact Angle, Impact Energy, Impact Velocity, Light Aircraft, Optimization
Analysis, Safety

INTRODUCTION
With the increasing complexity involved in developing industrial products,
determining the optimal design of a product is vital to ensuring product
competitiveness. Optimization is crucial in designing products because it involves
ensuring that products meet their functional requirements under existing constraints.
This has led to the wide use of design-optimization technologies in various
engineering fields. Technological advancements and increased public demand for
safe and comfortable aircraft have contributed to the development of increasingly
complex aircraft systems. When designing aircraft, engineers must consider
numerous factors, such as aerodynamics, aircraft structure, aircraft performance,
manufacture cost, and subsequent maintenance costs. Previous optimization
techniques for aircraft primarily involved improving the aerodynamic configuration
of wings and fuselage, and also to enhance the structural strength as well as reduce
the overall weight. In the field of aircraft engineering, design optimization and
various novel algorithms have proven to be reliable technologies in aircraft design
and relevant simulations. Airbus designed its A350 XWB by using optimization
software that analyzed the structural load of the aircraft and removed any
unnecessary structural components, thereby reducing the overall weight of the
aircraft by 30%. In addition, optimization simulation facilitated a structural
redistribution that increased the structural strength, improved the aircraft
performance by 30%, and reduced the production costs by 50% (Gardiner, 2011).
Because aircraft design involves large and complex systems, various constraints must
be considered. Thus, in 2009, the Collaborative and Robust Engineering using
Simulation Capability Enabling Next Design Optimization project was established in
Europe with the aim of developing an optimization analysis technique for
aerodynamics-structures interaction in airframe design (CRESCENDO, 2013). In the
1990s, Dassault Aviation began using optimization techniques to simulate the
aerodynamics of new aircraft during the early stages of development. However, the
process necessitates the use of high-speed computers to solve grid-computing
systems with millions of nodes (Quang et al., 2012) The company used an
optimization technique to develop the FALCON 5X 16-passenger business jet,
resulting an optimised aerodynamics and fuselage performance that facilitated 15%
reduction in fuel consumption.

Small business jets are classified as general aviation (GA) aircraft. In general, GA
aircraft is used to describe all non-military aircraft and aircraft not used by
commercial airlines. In 2013, GA aircraft shipment worldwide grew by 4.3% from the
previous year (GAMA, 2013). Currently, there are 6,645 light sport aircrafts (LSAs) in
the United States (FAA, 2013), and this is expected to grow 2% annually. Compared
with general commercial airlines that have regular flight schedules, the rapid growth
in GA aircraft sales is primarily because flights via GA aircraft are more convenient,
enabling passengers to avoid delays and the need to transfer flights. LSA and other
types of light aircraft are also used for short trips and personal leisure purposes.
However, safety issues remain the primary factors that hinder the rapid development
of GA. Therefore, in this study, we investigated the safety of light aircraft by
integrating crashworthiness and topology optimization of the aircraft structure. In
November 2013, the United States government successfully introduced the Small
Airplane Revitalisation Act, demanding that the Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) improve their certification mechanisms to reduce the costs and time required
for new aircraft to enter the market. Concurrently, the bill stipulates that the FAA
improve the safety of small aircrafts because it was the biggest concern of potential
consumers. For example, from 1998 to 2007, there were 4.03 fatalities per million
flight hours for regular flights, but there were 22.43 fatalities per million flight hours
for GA flights. The National Transportation Safety Board reported that the fatality
rate for aircraft accidents in 2012 was 18% for regular flights and 97% for GA aircraft
(NTSB, 2012). Therefore, using optimization techniques while complying with the
regulations, satisfying safety conditions, and meeting market demand is crucial to
ensuring the continuous development of small aircraft.

LITERATURE REVIEW
Structure topology optimization is to achieve the optimal structural redistribution of
a structure by optimizing a design objective within the constraint limits. This method
enables companies to effectively improve the primary design and conceptual analyze
of their products during the early stages of product development. Current topology
optimization techniques have evolved from the conceptual design stage to one that
also includes analyzing the feasibility of manufactured products. Such feasibility
analyzes focus on the shape symmetry and optimal design for products of various
thicknesses (Zhou et al., 2011). However, most of the current studies on aircraft
design optimization have used for large transport aircraft. For example, the wing
boxes of the Fairchild Dornier regional jet (Schuhmacher et al., 2002) were designed
using MSC/NASTRAN SOL 200 and finite element software while considering the
aeroelastic demand and structural stress. The wing boxes fulfilled various design
requirements and minimized the weight of the aircraft. Mattos and Hernandes (2010)
analyzed the structure of the frame where the vertical empennage meets the fuselage
in T-tail type aircraft by using the Genesis optimization software. That study used
bending and torsion of the structural components as the primary load conditions, and
the results showed that the optimization process strengthened the inertia of the
frame and created diagonal arm connection from the centre of the frame to its sides.
These results indicated that topology optimization can provide crucial reference
information for designers.

Design optimization is also typically used in the design of GA aircraft. Yusuf,


Nukman, Dawal, Chandra, and Sofia (2010) analyzed the fuselage structure of very
light jet aircraft by using Abaqus. They changed the components of the fuselage by
using various configurations of frames, stringers, longerons, and floor beams to
maximize the structural safety of the aircraft while minimizing its weight. Yoon et al.
(2010) proposed incorporating multidisciplinary designs into airworthiness
requirements and feasibility analysis as part of the conceptual design of aircraft
during the early stages of development. They used three types of small four-passenger
aircraft as test samples and showed that multidisciplinary design optimization
(MDO) and the multidisciplinary feasible (MDF) method can reduce the takeoff
weight by 12.4%. Ahamed, Kumar, and Sravani (2014) used ANSYS software to
compare the optimization of the empennages of the Zenith STOL 750 LSA. In that
study, three aluminium–carbon empennages with distinct shapes were used, which
reduced the weight of the empennages by approximately 30%; however, no clear
improvement was observed in terms of maximum stress and maximum strain. The
structural optimizations performed in these studies were primarily aimed at reducing
the takeoff weight while maintaining the structural strength and size of the fuselages.
However, numerous aviation accidents have shown that only by ensuring the
structural integrity of the cabin and its ability to absorb energy can the passengers’
survivable space be protected from being compressed and ensure that escape routes
and spaces remain intact during impact.

Crashworthiness refers to the capability of the overall aircraft system to protect


occupants from fatal injuries during impact condition and the capability of the
aircraft structure to ensure that there is sufficient space around the occupants which
increases the chance of survival in an aircraft crash (Shanahan, 2005). In other
words, collapse and damage to the aircraft structure are permissible as long as they
do not threaten the survival space of passengers. When designing an aircraft,
structures that absorb energy by becoming damaged or deformed are designed to
prevent the force of impact from exceeding the limits of the human body. Since 1982,
NASA has worked with the FAA in analyzing commercial transport aircraft crashes.
Because the civil aviation industry began using wide-body aircrafts extensively, NASA
performed drop tests on Boeing 720 and 707 aircrafts to collect damage data.
Between 1980 and 1996, the FAA founded the General Aviation Safety Panel (GASP),
which is an informal organization responsible for investigating safety issues related to
the GA industry and providing recommendations to the FAA. Such recommendations
have included investigations of aircraft crashworthiness. However, current Federal
Aviation Regulations (FAR) for mandatory crashworthiness design remain absent. In
1990, the National Research Council in Canada proposed using software packages to
analyze the damage to cabins and fuselages during impact to determine the
crashworthiness of small aircraft composed of composite materials and to assess the
feasibility of developing such aircraft (Poon, 1990).

In 1994, NASA and FAA created the Advanced General Aviation Transport
Experiments (AGATE) project. The project was aimed at building a hub-and-spoke
Small Aviation Transportation System (SATS) and using light aircraft to decentralize
the congested ground transportation system by replacing other methods of
transportation with the SATS for travel distances between 150-700 miles. This shows
the high development potential for small aircraft in the future. To strengthen the
fuselage structure of light aircraft, AGATE added stringers along the two sides of the
fuselage (Henderson et al., 2002). Furthermore, to prevent the aft fuselage from
compressing the cabin because of inertial forces, which reduces the survival space of
passengers, the engine mount, firewall, and fuselage frame connecting to the stringer
must also be reinforced to enhance the overall strength of the fuselage.

When a large transport aircraft crashes, most of the impact energy is sustained by the
fuselage floor, subfloor, and struts. Numerous researches have already been
conducted in this subject. For example, analyzes were performed to determine the
energy absorbed by the fuselage structure dropped vertically (Kumakura et al., 2002;
Adams et al., 2010; Xue et al., 2014). However, for light aircraft crashes, most of the
impact energy is absorbed by the engine mount, firewall, landing gear, and cabin
structure, and with most passenger casualties resulting from the compression of
cabin space. In 2013, the German Ministry of Economic Affairs funded a research
project (Safety Box) on cabin safety for light aircraft to provide a comprehensive
protection system to protect occupants during a crash. The project involved
developing superior energy-absorption mechanisms and strengthening the aircraft
structure, and restraint systems. These endeavours indicate that the aviation industry
in both the United States and Europe anticipate strong growth in the small aircraft
market over the next 20-30 years. However, current research on crashworthiness
optimization for GA aircraft and light aircraft remains limited. Regarding the
protection of light aircraft passengers, current regulations and standards on light
aircrafts, such as the LSA of FAR Parts 1 and Part 103, ASTM F2245-13b (ASTM,
2013), the CS-LSA(EASA, 2011)/CS-VLA (EASA, 2009) of EASA, and DS 10141E
(LAMAC, 2002) continue to rely on the use of seats and restraining devices only.
Despite confirmation of the importance of favourable crashworthiness designs in
protecting passenger safety in small aircraft (Hurley et al., 2002) the regulation that
demands the aircraft design meet the crashworthiness requirements remain
insufficient. Therefore, in this study, we used topology optimization in designing the
aircraft structure and performed dynamic crash simulations to investigate the
crashworthiness of light aircraft.

SIMULATION AND ANALYZES


This study used Abaqus topology optimization module to investigate the optimization
design of the cabin structure of a light aircraft under dynamic impact loading.
Concerning the boundary conditions for the simulations, we used those stipulated in
the AGATE and ASTM (i.e., an impact angle of 30° (Hopper et al., 2002) and an
impact speed of 1.3 Vso (ASTM, 2013) to perform the optimization the
crashworthiness of light aircraft subjected to impact loading. In addition, we adopted
the MIL-STD-1290A {Light Fixed and Rotary-Wing Aircraft Crash Resistance, 1988}
as the minimum safety standard, which requires that cockpit reduction no more than
15% when aircrafts is subjected to longitudinal, lateral, or vertical impact. For the
topology optimization, we set the minimized strain energy as the objective function
that is the minimum cabin space required for satisfying a reasonable survivable
volume for occupants.

The 3D fuselage model of a Zenith STOL CH 701 (Figure 1) was constructed by using
Pro/E and simulation analyzes were performed using the finite element analysis
software Abaqus. Subsequently, we performed topology optimization by using
Abaqus/optimization to obtain an optimal configuration for the structure. Next,
dynamic crash simulations were conducted using Abaqus/explicit in which the 15%
compression ratio stipulated in the MIL-STD-1290A was employed as the safety limit.
We compared the optimal model with the original model to determine the differences
in the amount of reduction and the safety zone of the cabin during a crash.

Figure 1. The 3D fuselage model of a CH701 aircraft

In this study, a 3D hollow cube model (30x30x30 mm) for cabin design region was
constructed for optimization process as shown in Figure 2. The model is composed of
6061-T6 aluminium alloy. Table 1 lists the material properties of the aluminium alloy.
Figure 3 shows the simulated impact loading condition as the aircraft crashed into
the ground. We applied a load of 1,000 MPa to the bottom-left corner of the model
while fixing the right side of the model. The optimization results show in Figure 4
depict a cabin firewall-like shape formed at the front of the model, and the diagonal
beams installed along the two sides of the fuselage enhanced its ability to sustain
external forces exerted at a 30° inclined angle. However, the optimization result
failed to produce a complete cross section of the back end for connecting with the
fuselage. Therefore, to improve the feasibility of the cabin design, we set a constraint
in which a 1-mm thickness was reserved for each side of the hollow cube model
(Figure 5), ensuring that the shape of the cabin remained unchanged, thereby
preserving the cabin space. Subsequently, we performed the optimization and
obtained a model (Figure 6) that met the basic design requirements (i.e., passenger
seating space, fortified diagonal beams, and the ability to be connected to the
fuselage). Thus, these settings were subsequently applied in the structural
optimization simulations for the CH701.

Figure 2. Cross-sectional view of the hollow cube model used in the topology
optimization
Table 1. The material properties of aluminium alloy 6061-T6

Elastic Modulus 68.9 GPa

Poisson's Ratio 0.33

Shear Modulus 26 GPa

Density 2.7 g/
Tensile Strength 276 MPa

Figure 3. Load and boundary conditions for the hollow cube model

Figure 4. Topology optimization results obtained using the hollow cube model
Figure 5. Schematic diagram of the hollow cube model (with a side thickness of 1
mm) used in the topology optimization
Figure 6. Optimal result obtained using the hollow cube model (with a side thickness
of 1 mm)
After completing the optimization simulation and analysing the results of the hollow
cube model, we simulated the structural optimization of the CH 701 cabin and then
compared it with the original model. The topology optimization procedure used for
the light aircraft cabin is as follows: (1) The top and sides of the CH701 cabin were
filled using Pro/E and were used as the model for the optimization simulation. The
original cabin floor and cabin door designs were preserved to provide a seating area
for passengers and access to the cabin (Figure 7). (2) The top and side of the cabin
were set as the design area for the topology optimization simulation (Figure 8). (3) To
preserve the shape of the model during the optimization process, the configuration of
the cabin frame was set as a constraint. (4) Minimised the strain energy of the two
side frame structure of the cabin was set as the objective function (Figure 9). (5)
Simulations involving various volumes were used to show that removing more than
76% of cabin volume would result in the structural discontinuity of the cabin.
Therefore, the maximum removal rate during the optimization process was
constrained at 75%. (6) To simulate the reduction rate of cabin when aircrafts impact
the ground, the fuselage was fixed while an external force of 744 MPa was applied to
the nose of the aircraft; the external force of 744 MPa was the load measured from
the aircraft nose of the original model when a crash simulation was performed at an
impact angle of 30° (as stipulated in the AGATE) and at a landing speed of 18.05 m/s
(as stipulated in the ASTM).

Figure 7. Schematic diagram of the model used in optimization simulation

Figure 8. Design area of the model used in topology optimization


Figure 9. The two side of cabin frame structure as the objective function used in the
topology optimization
Figure 10 shows the model after the topology optimization. Figures 11 and 12 are
shown to facilitate a comparison between the original and optimal model of cabin and
fuselage. The figures show that the diagonal beam at the top of the cabin was
removed and the structure of the two sides was rearranged in the optimal model. The
diagonal beam thickness of the two sides was increased from 40 mm to 60-70 mm. A
comparison between the optimal and original models revealed that the model weight
decreased from 303 kg in the original model to 298 kg in the optimal model.

Figure 10. Model produced from topology optimization


Figure 11. Comparisons between the original and optimal models
Figure 12. Comparisons between the original and optimal models (side view)

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION


In this study, we designed an optimized structure that enabled light aircraft cockpit to
sustain impact loads to comply with current standards. The impact angle stipulated
in the AGATE and impact speed specified in the ASTM was used as boundary
conditions for the crash simulation. In an aircraft design, the allowable reduction in
cabin space stipulated in the MIL-STD-1290A was set as the minimum
crashworthiness safety standard, the allowable reduction in cockpit length
(X direction) and cockpit height (Y direction) must be within 15% during a crash. We
developed a topology optimization model for the cockpit by using Abaqus, and then
compared the optimal and original models in terms of the safety envelope and the
amount of cabin reduction at various impact angles and velocities.

The simulation results were exported using the Abaqus post processing module.
Dynamic simulation analysis involved using the following methods to verify the
experimental results: (1) the total energy was conserved when kinetic energy was
reduced and potential energy increased and (2) the penalty work remained positive,
indicating that no penetration occurred when the object impacted the ground; and (3)
the Hourglass energy was less than 5% of the internal energy. Figures 13 and 14 show
the energy change upon impact for the original and optimal models, respectively.
Both figures show that during the crash, the kinetic energy decreased, potential
energy increased, the total energy remained constant, and that the Hourglass energy
was less than 5% of the internal energy. Figures 15 and 16 show the changes in
penalty work upon impact for the original model and the optimal model, respectively.
A positive penalty work value indicates that no penetration occurred when the object
crashed into the surface of the ground. The results in Figures 13-16 confirm that the
simulation results for both the original and optimal models were reasonable. We then
increased the impact speed to observe the fuselage deformation upon impact, and
found that as the impact speed increased, the diagonal beams connecting the firewall
and the cockpit deformed substantially (Figure 17). Because the diagonal beams are a
crucial structural component of the cockpit critically influencing the survival space
for occupants, they were included in this discussion concerning the amount of cockpit
reduction.

Figure 13. Energy change chart when the original model crashed

Figure 14. Energy change chart depicting when the optimal model crashed
Figure 15. Changes in penalty work when the original model crashed
Figure 16. Changes in penalty work when the optimal model crashed
Figure 17. Amount of deformation in the diagonal beams at varying impact
velocities
Figures 18 and 19 show the relationship between velocity and reducing rate for the
original and optimal models when the aircraft crashed at a 30° impact angle,
where A represents the amount of reduction in the diagonal beams, X denotes the
amount of cabin reduction in the Xdirection, and Y represents the amount of cabin
reduction in the Y direction. Figure 18 shows that for the original model, no
dramatically changes were observed in any of the three directions at an impact angle
of 30° and impact velocity less than 18.05 m/s. The amount of reduction in diagonal
beams increased sharply when the impact velocity reached 20 m/s, exceeding the 15%
safety limit at 41.73 m/s. The amount of reduction in the X and Ydirections increased
gradually with the impact velocity, reaching 8% and 11% at 90 m/s, respectively.
Similarly, for the optimal model, the amount of reduction began to increase only after
the impact velocity reached 20 m/s; however, the amount of reduction exceeded the
safety limit only when the velocity reached 72 m/s (Figure 19). These results show
that the crashing velocity that could be tolerated by the diagonal beams in the optimal
model was 72% higher than that of the original model. Regarding the relationship
between velocity and the amount of reduction in the X direction, the results for the
optimal model were similar to those of the original model; a gradual increase was
observed in the amount of reduction when the velocity reached 20 m/s. At 90 m/s,
the amount of reduction was 8%. Regarding the amount of reduction in
the Y direction in the optimal model, a sharp increase was observed when the velocity
reached 40 m/s, exceeding the 15% safety limit at 80 m/s. This result was inferior to
that of the original model. The results from these two figures show that under the
boundary condition in which the impact angle was fixed at 30°, the diagonal beams
are crucial structural components, indicating that enhancing the diagonal beams
facilitates can improve the survival rate of passengers.

Figure 18. The cockpit reducing rate for the original model at various impact
velocities
Figure 19. The cockpit reducing rate for the optimal model at various impact
velocities
Figures 20 and 21 respectively show the relationship between the impact angle and
amount of reduction for the original and optimal models at a fixed impact velocity of
18.05 m/s. The two graphs show no significant deformation in the diagonal beams for
both the original and optimal models when the impact angle ranged between 0° and
20°, and that the amount of deformation gradually increased when the impact angle
reached 20°. The greatest deformation (3%-5%) was observed at an impact angle of
60°, decreasing as the impact angle increased. For the original model, the amount of
reduction in the X direction increased sharply when the impact angle reached 30°;
the amount of reduction exceeded the safety limit when the impact angle was 60°. By
contrast, for the optimal model, the amount of reduction in the X direction slowly
increased when the impact angle was between 0° and 60°; however, it increased
rapidly once the impact angle exceeded 60°. The amount of reduction exceeded the
15% safety limit when the impact angle reached 80°.

Figure 20. The cockpit reducing rate for the original model at various impact angles
Figure 21. The cockpit reducing rate for the optimal model at various impact angles
The impact angle in the X direction at which the optimal model remained within the
safety limit was 80°, therefore, the ability of the optimal model in terms of impact
angle to tolerate impact in the X direction exhibited an improvement of 33%.
Conversely, both the original and optimal models exhibited approximately 4% of
deformation when the impact angle was 0° in the Y direction; this occurred because
of cockpit reduction caused when the cockpit floor directly sustained the load during
vertical crashes. No significant reduction was observed in the Y direction when the
impact angle exceeded 15° for both the original and optimal models. These results
indicate that for the original model, the amount of reduction in the X direction
exceeded the safety limit and rapidly increased at impact angles larger than 30°,
which is consistent with the statistical results reported in the AGATE. Regarding the
crash scenarios where the velocity remains constant while the impact angle varies, we
confirmed that the strength of the structural components of the fuselage in
the X direction was the key to passenger survival. Therefore, increasing the strength
of stringers would improve aircraft crashworthiness.

Using the results obtained from the impact velocity and impact angle simulations as
well as the 15% reduction standard stipulated in MIL-STD-1290A, we established the
safety zone of the diagonal beams, X direction, and Y direction in the original and
optimal models (Figures 22-24). The safety zones of diagonal beams in the original
model (51%) and optimal model (63%) are shown in Figure 22, demonstrating an
increase of 12%. The critical impact angle for both the original and optimal models
was 60°. Figure 23 shows the safety zone of the Xdirection in the original and optimal
models. The safety zone of X direction in the original model (54%) and optimal model
(67%) was increased by 13%. In addition, the figure revealed that the safety zone of
the X direction decreased rapidly when the crash angle reached 30° for the original
model, whereas that of the optimal model exhibited a gradual decline. The safety
zones of the Y direction in the original and optimal models are shown in Figure 24.
The safety zone of the Y direction was 92% in the original model and 86% in the
optimal model, in which the optimal model yielded a smaller safety zone compared to
that in the original model; this occurred because the tolerance to velocity when the
cabin crashed vertically (at 0°) was 30 m/s for the optimal model, which was less
than that of the original model at 40 m/s. Another reason for the poorer performance
of the optimal model was revealed by comparing the structure of the two fuselage
structures shown in Figure 12; because a impact angle of 30° was used as the
boundary condition in the optimal model, the frames below the cabin in
the Y direction were removed during optimization simulations, which diminished the
ability of the cabin to withstand vertical load. The safety zones of diagonal
beams, Xdirection, and Y direction are shown in Figure 25; the overall safety zone of
the original and optimal models was 37% and 47%, respectively, indicating an
increase of 10% for the optimal model.

Figure 22. Safety zone of the diagonal beams during a crash

Figure 24. Safety zone of the Y direction during a crash


Figure 23. Safety zone of the X direction during a crash

Figure 25. Overall safety zone of the cabin during a crash


CONCLUSION
In this study, we used topology optimization and crash simulations for light aircrafts
by using the finite element method. The boundary conditions for the crash
simulations were based on an impact angle of 30° (as stipulated in the AGATE) and
an impact speed of 18.05 m/s (as stipulated in the ASTM). We compared the
differences in amount of cockpit reduction between the optimal and original models
at varying impact velocities and angles, and followed a crashworthiness design
standard MIL-STD-1290A, which states that the amount of deformation must be less
than 15% in all cockpit directions during a crash. We also investigated the amount of
deformation in the cabin diagonal beam, and the X and Ydirections of the fuselage
when the optimal model was subjected to varying impact loads. Our conclusion is
summarized as follows:

 By performing topology optimization simulations can effectively improved the


light aircraft crashworthiness and occupant’s safety at impact situation.
 We performed crash simulations based on test conditions stipulated in the
AGATE and ASTM. The results indicated that the diagonal beams connecting
the firewall to the top of the cabin were crucial for the survival space of
passengers. For aircrafts crashing at a fixed impact angle but at varying impact
velocities, the optimal model was able to improve the safety zone by 72% at
high impact velocities. Although the thickness of the diagonal beams in the
optimal model was 20-40 mm thicker, they were able to increase the safety
zone of the original model by 12%.
 No remarkable changes were observed in the amount of cabin reduction along
the Xdirection of the fuselage when the aircraft crashed at an impact angle of
30° and various impact velocities; however, noteworthy changes were
observed in the amount of reduction along the X direction of the cabin at fixed
velocity and varying impact angles. For the original model, the amount of
deformation increased sharply when the impact angle reached 30°, which is
consistent with the results shown in the AGATE. Through topology
optimization, the critical impact angle in the X direction of the model was
improved from 60° to 80°. In addition, the optimal model enhanced the
overall safety zone of the X direction by 13%.
 The optimal model removed of the struts below the cabin, thereby reducing the
cabin’s ability to withstand low impact angles (< 15°) crash. In addition, when
the impact angle was fixed, the amount of cabin reduction exceeded the 15%
safety limit at impact velocities higher than 80 m/s, and the amount of cabin
reduction for the various impact velocities were greater than those in the
original model. Therefore, the safety zone of the Ydirection in the optimal
model decreased by 6% compared with that of the original model.
 The optimized cabin model of light aircraft used in this work can effectively
analyze the amount of deformation of all the structural components during
impact loading. The results revealed the effect of the key components at
various impact velocities and impact angles. Improving the key structural
components can effectively increase the survival rate of passengers during a
crash.

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