A Coupled-Adjoint Method for High-Fidelity Aero-Structural Optimization
STANFORD UNIV CA DEPT OF AERONAUTICS AND ASTRONAUTICS
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A new integrated aero-structural design method for aerospace vehicles is presented. The approach combines an aero-structural analysis solver, a coupled aero-structural adjoint solver, a geometry engine, and an efficient 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. The aero-structural adjoint 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 needed. The optimization of a supersonic business jet configuration demonstrates the usefulness and importance of computing aero-structural sensitivities using the coupled-adjoint method.