Journal Article

Multipoint Aerodynamic Shape Optimization for Subsonic and Supersonic Regimes


M. Mangano, and J. R. R. A. Martins


Journal of Aircraft, 58(3):650–662, 2021



The second-generation of supersonic civil transport has to match ambitious targets in terms of efficiency to be economically and environmentally viable. CFD-based design optimization offers a powerful approach to address the complex tradeoffs intrinsic to this novel configuration. We apply this approach to the design of airfoils and wings at both supersonic cruise conditions and lower-speed, off-design conditions. We perform single and multipoint optimization to minimize the drag over an ideal supersonic aircraft flight envelope and assess the influence of physical and numerical parameters on optimization accuracy and robustness. To obtain more favorable design tradeoffs between different flight regimes, we introduce morphing leading and trailing edge capabilities, and quantify their benefits against fixed-wing shapes. The optimized layouts outperform baseline supersonic reference designs over a range of flight conditions, with drag reductions from 4% up to 86% for airfoils, and between 24% and 74% reductions relative to a reference wing. The results demonstrate that the proposed approach enables the fast and effective design of highly-efficient wings, capturing non-intuitive tradeoffs, and offering more in-depth physical insight into the optimal layouts.