Three-dimensional structural topology optimization of aerial vehicles under aerodynamic loads


COMPUTERS & FLUIDS, vol.92, pp.225-232, 2014 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 92
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.compfluid.2013.11.018
  • Journal Name: COMPUTERS & FLUIDS
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.225-232
  • Keywords: Structural topology optimization, Aerial vehicle structural design, Parallel CFD, Mesh coupling, Code coupling, Parallelized solvers, DESIGN
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


A previously developed density distribution-based structural topology optimization algorithm coupled with a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) solver for aerodynamic force predictions is extended to solve large-scale problems to reveal inner structural details of a wing wholly rather than some specific regions. Resorting to an iterative conjugate gradient algorithm for the solution of the structural equilibrium equations needed at each step of the topology optimizations allowed the solution of larger size problems, which could not be handled previously with a direct equation solver. Both the topology optimization and CFD codes are parallelized to obtain faster solutions. Because of the complexity of the computed aerodynamic loads, a case study involving optimization of the inner structure of the wing of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) led to topologies, which could not be obtained by intuition alone. Post-processing features specifically tailored for visualizing computed topologies proved to be good design tools in the hands of designers for identifying complex structural components. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.