Approach to evaluate and to compare basic structural design concepts of landing gears in early stage of development under uncertainty
Structural design concepts for load bearing mechanical systems vary due to individual usage requirements. Particularly strut-configurations for landing gears in airplanes push the envelope according to tight requirements in shock absorption, normal, lateral and torsional load capacity, rolling stability, storage dimensions, low drag, low weight, and maintenance as well as reliability, safety and availability. Since the first controlled and powered flight of the Wright-Brothers in 1903, design evolution generated different structural design concepts. Today's structures may have, seemingly, reached mature conformity with distinct load path architectures that have been prevailed. In the proposed contribution, the authors evaluate and compare distinctive performance requirements like stroke ability and ride quality, elastic force retention, structure strength, and weight of mechanisms resulting from significant structural design concepts for main and nose landing gears. Loads in landing gears have always been distributed in struts with high and low amounts of strut members such as rods, beams, torque links, and joints as well as different types of absorbers. This paper's goal is to clarify pros and cons of the four different concepts with respect to their vulnerability due to uncertainty. Here, uncertainty mainly occurs due to variations in elastic force retention and their effect on the performance requirements. For that, simple mathematical models are derived to evaluate and compare the most significant characteristics of the four concepts in the earliest stage of development in order to make early decisions for or against a concept before time and cost consuming detailed development work including manufacturing and test takes over.