Progressive Subdivision Curves for Aerodynamic Shape Optimisation

Dominic A Masters, Nigel Taylor, Thomas Rendall, Christian Allen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

10 Citations (Scopus)
314 Downloads (Pure)


This work presents a shape parameterisation method based on multi-resolutional subdivision curves and investigates its application to aerodynamic optimisation. Subdivision curves are defined as the limit curve of a recursive application of a subdivision rule, which provides an intrinsically hierarchical set of control polygons that can be used to provide surface control at varying levels of fidelity. This is used to construct a progressive aerofoil parameterisation that allows an optimisation to be initialised with a small number of design variables, and then periodically increased in resolution through the optimisation. This brings the benefits of a low dimensional design space (high convergence rate, increased robustness, low cost finite-difference gradients) while still allowing the final results to be from a high-dimensional design space. In this work the progressive refinement technique is tested on a variety of optimisation problems. For each problem a range of ‘static’ (non-progressive) subdivision schemes (equivalent to cubic B-splines) are also used as a control group. For all the optimisation cases the progressive schemes perform comparably or better than the static methods, often providing a significant computational advantage, and in many cases allowing a solution to be found when the static method would otherwise finish prematurely in a local optimum.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication54th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc. (AIAA)
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9781624103933
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jan 2016


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