​Honeywell needs to certify a Flight Control Chassis for a new aircraft environment. The chassis, based on one used in another aircraft, must survive vibration, acceleration, and “abuse” loads. In addition to verifying that the existing design will survive, Honeywell is interested in reducing the weight of the chassis, either by optimization of the existing aluminum design, or by moving to a composite design.


A detailed finite element model was created of the baseline design, with particular care to accurately model the preload applied by the self-torquing quick-release fasteners that hold the modules in the chassis. Quasi-static, random and sinusoidal vibration analyses were performed to ensure that the chassis would survive the operational environment, and fatigue analysis was performed to guarantee that the chassis would survive a working life of many years. Fastener loads and margins of safety were also calculated.


Optistruct-based topology optimization was used to gain insight into changes that could be made to make the baseline design more efficient. The optimization results, together with engineering judgment, resulted in a lightweight aluminum design. A second, composite design exploited the information gained in the aluminum design process, together with knowledge of composite manufacturing techniques, further reducing the chassis weight.

Quartus performed static, quasi-static, and dynamic analysis of the Flight Control Chassis and confirmed that it could survive the required loading. Quartus also designed and analyzed a lightweight aluminum chassis that reduced the baseline weight by 36%, and a graphite composite chassis that reduced the baseline weight by 63%.

  • FEMAP™
  • I-DEAS NX™
  • Optistruct™