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Modeling of CPACS-based fuselage structures using Python

Jan-Niclas Walther (Institute of Air Transportation Systems (LY), German Aerospace Center (DLR), Hamburg, Germany)
Michael Petsch (Institute of Structures and Design (BT), German Aerospace Center (DLR), Stuttgart, Germany)
Dieter Kohlgrüber (Institute of Structures and Design (BT), German Aerospace Center (DLR), Stuttgart, Germany)

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology

ISSN: 0002-2667

Article publication date: 4 September 2017




The purpose of this paper is to present some of the key achievements. At DLR, a sophisticated interdisciplinary aircraft design process is being developed, using the CPACS data format (Nagel et al., 2012; Scherer and Kohlgrüber, 2016) as a means of exchanging results. Within this process, TRAFUMO (Scherer et al., 2013) (transport aircraft fuselage model), built on ANSYS and the Python programming language, is the current tool for automatic generation and subsequent sizing of global finite element fuselage models. Recently, much effort has gone into improving the tool performance and opening up the modeling chain to further finite element solvers.


Much functionality has been shifted from specific routines in ANSYS to Python, including the automatic creation of global finite element models based on geometric and structural data from CPACS and the conversion of models between different finite element codes. Furthermore, a new method for modeling and interrogating geometries from CPACS using B-spline surfaces has been introduced.


Several new modules have been implemented independently with a well-defined central data format in place for storing and exchanging information, resulting in a highly extensible framework for working with finite element data. The new geometry description proves to be highly efficient while also improving the geometric accuracy.

Practical implications

The newly implemented modules provide the groundwork for a new all-Python model generation chain, which is more flexible at significantly improved runtimes. With the analysis being part of a larger multidisciplinary design optimization process, this enables exploration of much larger design spaces within a given timeframe.


In the presented paper, key features of the newly developed model generation chain are introduced. They enable the quick generation of global finite element models from CPACS for arbitrary solvers for the first time.



The authors would like to thank Martin Siggel for his interest in this work and his invaluable support in further understanding the inner workings of B-splines.


Walther, J.-N., Petsch, M. and Kohlgrüber, D. (2017), "Modeling of CPACS-based fuselage structures using Python", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 89 No. 5, pp. 644-653.



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