Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering


Rob A. McDonald


The purpose of this work is to help bridge the gap between aircraft conceptual design and analysis. Much work is needed, but distilling essential characteristics from a design and collecting them in an easily accessible format that is amenable to use by inexpensive analysis tools is a significant contribution to this goal. Toward that end, four types of reduced-fidelity or degenerate geometric representations have been defined and implemented in VSP, a parametric geometry modeler. The four types are degenerate surface, degenerate plate, degenerate stick, and degenerate point, corresponding to three-, two-, one-, and zero- dimensional representations of underlying geometry, respectively.

The information contained in these representations was targeted specifically at lifting line, vortex lattice, equivalent beam, and equivalent plate theories, with the idea that suitability for interface with these methods would imply suitability for use with many other analysis techniques. The ability to output this information in two plain text formats— comma separated value and Matlab script—has also been implemented in VSP, making it readily available for use.

A modified Cessna 182 wing created in VSP was used to test the suitability of degenerate geometry to interface with the four target analysis techniques. All four test cases were easily completed using the information contained in the degenerate geometric types, and similar techniques utilizing different degenerate geometries produced similar results.

The following work outlines the theoretical underpinnings of degenerate geometry and the fidelity-reduction process. It also describes in detail how the routines that create degenerate geometry were implemented in VSP and concludes with the analysis test cases, stating their results and comparing results among different techniques.