CAD based aerodynamic optimisation employing adjoints

  • Philip Hewitt

Student thesis: Masters ThesisMaster of Philosophy


Numerical Optimisation is a computational process whereby a function is iteratively driven to an extreme value. When used within the context of the design process, this method provides an automated approach that can produce a series of designs of ever improving performance. Optimisation methods are capable of obtaining designs that may be beyond the intuition of the designer, especially with regards to models that are highly flexible or novel. As of yet there has only been a limited uptake into industry and so optimisation is yet to be widely integrated into the design process as a routine tool. Two key restrictions on the widespread use of these methods for design are the lack of CAD system integration into the optimisation process and the impractically high computational expense of optimising a design at a level of fidelity that would be useful within industry.This project integrates the CATIA CAD environment with the SU2 aerodynamic optimisation suite. This is done with the help of an in-house code that overcomes exclusionary limitations on the accessibility of design sensitivities that are intrinsic to proprietary CAD software. The resulting CAD based software framework is efficient and flexible, traits acquired through the provision of computationally inexpensive adjoint sensitivities and the wide range of parametric modelling tools available through the CATIA environments.
Date of AwardDec 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SupervisorMarco Geron (Supervisor) & Trevor T Robinson (Supervisor)


  • aerodynamic
  • adjoints

Cite this