Joaquim R.R.A. Martins




High-Fidelity Aero-Structural Design Optimization of Aircraft Configurations

An integrated aero-structural design method for aerospace vehicles is  presented. The approach combines an aero-structural solver, a coupled aero-structural adjoint solver, a geometry engine, and a gradient-based optimization algorithm. The aero-structural solver ensures accurate solutions by using high-fidelity models for the aerodynamics, structures, and coupling procedure.

The coupled aero-structural adjoint solver is used to calculate the sensitivities of aerodynamic and structural cost functions with respect to both aerodynamic shape and structural variables. These sensitivities are compared with those given by the complex-step derivative approximation and finite differences. The proposed method is shown to be both accurate and efficient, exhibiting a significant cost advantage when the gradient of a small number of functions with respect to a large number of design variables is required.

The optimization of a supersonic business jet configuration demonstrates the usefulness of computing aero-structural sensitivities using the coupled-adjoint method.