Master of Science
Design exploration and optimization is a large part of the initial engineering and design process. To evaluate the aerodynamic performance of a design, viscous Navier-Stokes solvers can be used. However this method can prove to be overwhelmingly time consuming when performing an initial design sweep. Therefore, another evaluation method is needed to provide accurate results at a faster pace. To accomplish this goal, a coupled viscous-inviscid method is used. This thesis proposes an integrated method for analyzing, evaluating, and optimizing an airfoil using a coupled viscous-inviscid solver along with a genetic algorithm to find the optimal candidate. The method proposed is different from prior optimization efforts in that it greatly broadens the design space, while allowing the optimization to search for the best candidate that will meet multiple objectives over a characteristic mission profile rather than over a single condition and single optimization parameter. The increased design space is due to the use of multiple parametric airfoil families, namely the NACA 4 series, CST family, and the PARSEC family. Almost all possible airfoil shapes can be created with these three families allowing for all possible configurations to be included. This inclusion of multiple airfoil families addresses a possible criticism of prior optimization attempts since by only focusing on one airfoil family, they were inherently limiting the number of possible airfoil configurations. By using multiple parametric airfoils, it can be assumed that all reasonable airfoil configurations are included in the analysis and optimization and that a global and not local maximum is found. Additionally, the method used is amenable to customization to suit any specific needs as well as including the effects of other physical phenomena or design criteria and/or constraints. This thesis found that an airfoil configuration that met multiple objectives could be found for a given set of nominal operational conditions from a broad design space with the use of minimal computational resources on both an absolute and relative scale to traditional analysis techniques. Aerodynamicists, program managers, aircraft configuration specialist, and anyone else in charge of aircraft configuration, design studies, and program level decisions might find the evaluation and optimization method proposed of interest.
Okrent, Joshua, "An Integrated Method for Airfoil Optimization" (2017). Theses and Dissertations. 2749.