Journal Article

Aerodynamic Design Optimization: Challenges and Perspectives


J. R. R. A. Martins


Computers & Fluids, 239105391, 2022



Antony Jameson pioneered CFD-based aerodynamic design optimization in the late 1980s. In addition to developing the fundamental theory, Jameson implemented that theory in codes that were practical enough to be used in industry. As a result of Jameson’s seminal efforts, a research community has been established in aerodynamic design optimization. This research area has experienced sustained improvements in CFD solvers, mesh deformation, sensitivity computation, and optimization tools. We review recent developments for each of these components and present open-source tools available for aerodynamic shape optimization. A variety of applications is presented, including the optimization of a supercritical airfoil starting from a circle, a web application that optimizes airfoils within a few seconds, aircraft aerodynamic and aerostructural optimization, and aeropropulsive optimization. We also review the Aerodynamic Design Optimization Discussion Group (ADODG) benchmarks and other aerodynamic shape optimization problems. Among the ADODG benchmarks, we focus on the RANS-based problems and discuss some of the issues encountered, including comparing Euler and RANS results and design-space multimodality. The availability of these benchmarks and the open-source tools is expected to enable further studies and benchmarks in CFD-based aerodynamic design optimization and MDO.