Journal Article

Multipoint High-Fidelity Aerostructural Optimization of a Transport Aircraft Configuration


G. K. W. Kenway, and J. R. R. A. Martins


Journal of Aircraft, 51(1):144–160, 2014



This paper presents multi-point high-fidelity aerostructural optimizations of a long-range wide-body transonic transport aircraft configuration. The aerostructural analysis employs Euler CFD with a 2 million cell mesh and a structural finite element model with 300 000 degrees of freedom. The coupled adjoint sensitivity method is used to efficiently compute gradients, enabling the use of gradient-based optimization with respect to hundreds of aerodynamic shape and structural sizing variables. The NASA Common Research Model is used as the baseline configuration, together with a wingbox structure that was designed for this study. Two design optimization problems are solved: one where takeoff gross weight is minimized, and another where fuel burn is minimized. Each optimization uses a multi-point formulation with 5 cruise conditions and 2 maneuver conditions. Each of the optimization problems have 476 design variables, including wing planform, airfoil shape, and structural thickness variables. Optimized results are obtained within 36 hours of wall time using 435 processors. The resulting optimal configurations are discussed and analyzed for the aerostructural trade-offs resulting from each objective. The takeoff gross weight minimization results in a 4.2% reduction in takeoff gross weight with a 6.6% fuel burn reduction, while the fuel-burn optimization resulted in an 11.2% fuel burn reduction with no significant change in the takeoff gross weight.