Comparison of Point Design and Range-Based Objectives for Transonic Aerofoil Optimization

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The most common aerofoil optimization problem considered is lift-constrained drag minimization at a fixed design point, however, shock-free solutions can result which can lead to poor off-design performance. As such, this paper presents a study into the construction of the aerofoil optimization problem and its effect of the performance over a range of operating conditions. Single- and multi-point optimizations of aerofoils in transonic flow are considered and an improved range-based optimization problem subject to a constraint on fixed non-dimensional wing loading with a varying design point is formulated. This
problem is more representative of the aircraft design problem though similar in cost to single-point drag minimization. An analytical treatment using an approximation of wave drag is also presented which demonstrates that the optimum Mach number for a fixed shape is supercritical if the required loading is above a critical threshold. Optimizations are presented that show that to define an effective objective function, three-dimensional effects modelled via an induced drag term must be introduced. The general trend is to produce solutions with higher Mach numbers and lower lift coefficients, and that shocked
solutions perform better when considering the performance in range over the operating space. Furthermore, the resulting aerofoil shapes are supercritical in nature; a particularly promising result.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages41
JournalAIAA Journal
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018


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