Restricted Snakes Volume of Solid (RSVS): A Parameterisation Method for Topology Optimisation of External Aerodynamics

A. D.J. Payot*, T. C.S. Rendall, C. B. Allen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
341 Downloads (Pure)


An approach for aerodynamic shape optimisation is derived which is capable of handling topological design changes as well as detailed surface control. The technique applies a material distribution, or volume of solid approach where design variables specify a volume fraction of solid on a fixed mesh. To convert this data to a solid surface, a contour is constructed around the volumes by moving points on the surface until the final shape satisfies those specified volumes. The objective of this construction procedure is to minimise the surface length, subject to the preset volume constraints. As a result, the method reproduces circular arcs exactly. Shape function analysis is then used to explore the theoretical behaviour of the parameterisation, and to prevent oscillatory surfaces from forming, thereby ensuring good optimiser convergence. The method is extended to allow for anisotropic refinement of the parameter mesh. Final test cases include geometric fitting of arbitrary shapes, as well as drag minimisation of topologies in supersonic flow, and show the parameterisation is able to explore single and multi-body aerodynamic design problems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-84
Number of pages25
JournalComputers and Fluids
Early online date10 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2019


  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Hierarchical design variables
  • Optimization
  • Topology optimization
  • Volume of solid

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