Journal Article

A Surface Mesh Deformation Method Near Component Intersections for High-Fidelity Design Optimization


A. Yildirim, C. A. Mader, and J. R. R. A. Martins


Engineering with Computers, 2021



Aerodynamic shape optimization based on computational fluid dynamics (CFD) requires three steps: updating the geometry based on the design variables, updating the CFD surface mesh for the new geometry, and updating the CFD volume mesh based on the new surface mesh. While there are many tools available for the first and third steps, the methods available for the second step are insufficient for geometries that have intersecting components. For these geometries, the CFD surface mesh needs to be updated near component intersections to conform to the component geometries and the updated intersection curves. To address this need, we introduce a method that can deform the CFD surface mesh nodes near component intersections. The method can handle arbitrary design changes for each intersecting component as long as the geometric topology is unchanged. Furthermore, the method is suitable for gradient-based optimization because it smoothly deforms every CFD surface node without introducing topological changes in the CFD surface mesh. In this paper, we detail each step of the proposed method and visualize the range of design changes that can be achieved with this approach. Finally, we use the proposed method in an aerodynamic shape optimization problem to optimize the wing-body intersection of the DLR-F6 configuration. These results demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method in a high-fidelity design optimization framework. The method applies to both structured and unstructured CFD meshes and makes it possible to use computer-aided design and conceptual design geometry tools within high-fidelity design optimization.