Application of 3D-scanning for structural and geometric assessment of aerospace structures

Lina van Brügge, Kaan M. Çetin, Sebastian J. Koeberle, Moritz Thiele, Fabian Sturm, Mirko Hornung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The geometric assessment of physical demonstrators are an integral part of several research projects conducted at the Chair of Aircraft Design at the Technical University of Munich. The projects range from several research UAVs, a sailplane morphing wing to propellers. There are different project objectives like the assessment of manufacturing deviations, design and function validation as well as reverse engineering of aerodynamic surfaces for model adaptation and simulation in the projects. Nevertheless, mutual approaches and solutions have been identified. Therefore joint development efforts are undertaken using 3D-scanning technology for data collection and evaluation. This technology captures the surface of a given object typically as a point cloud with comparably high accuracy. Since a manual evaluation process bears disadvantages in terms of reproducibility, custom post-processing software tools are developed. Global geometry data, like wing platform data, as well as airfoils can be extracted from a surface point cloud to analyze UAV wings or propellers. Airfoils can be derotated, normed and smoothed for aerodynamic analysis with low-fidelity aerodynamic tools, such as XFLR5 or XFOIL. For the analysis of morphing airfoil structures, the scanned geometry is aligned with the desired design airfoil shape so they can be compared. In this paper, analysis methods and several example results are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-467
Number of pages13
JournalCEAS Aeronautical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • 3D-scanning
  • Geometry extraction
  • Morphing wing structures
  • PCA
  • Polynomial smoothing
  • Remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS)
  • Reverse engineering
  • Unmanned aerial system (UAS)
  • Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)


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