Reduced Basis Modelling for Aircraft Aerodynamics

The future of air transportation is faced with the challenge of realizing aircraft designs capable of enhanced performance (higher speeds and higher efficiency), enhanced sustainability (reduced environmental footprint and carbon emissions) and increased safety. Along this perspective, the capacity to make available accurate aerodynamic data during all phases of the design process, from early concepts to final configuration, is a key factor in the development of new aerospace technologies.

The proposed project aims at enabling the exploration of innovative aircraft configurations and concepts by developing a numerical approach capable of providing, in a cost effective manner, high-fidelity aerodynamic solutions of complex three-dimensional, unsteady flows. Focussing on reducing the number of degrees of freedom of the problem (i.e. identifying a reduced order or reduced basis functional space) rather than introducing approximations on the flow physics, the research will deal with the formulation of an approach that uses elements of Principal Component Analysis to identify and follow the dynamics of those few coherent structures that play the most relevant role in the aerodynamic interaction between the aircraft and the flow of air.

The development and adoption of such a reduced basis technology comes at the cost of potentially numerous expensive high-fidelity computationally intensive simulations. Performing such a-priori (off-line) calculations for a carefully selected set of different configurations / flow conditions allows creating a substrate onto which the coherent structures (i.e. the reduced set of basis) can be identified for subsequent use during the actual (on-line) design process to provide fast and accurate responses to any change in the flow conditions or geometric configuration.

Figure 1: Evolution of starting and tip vortices around high-lift configuration. CFD solution, CPU time for single ∆t = 10 min on 256 cores (left), ROM solution, CPU time for single ∆t = 9 s on 1 core (right). Contours of velocity magnitude.

For more information about the project contact Dr Marco Fossati, (marco.fossati [at] strath [dot] ac [dot] uk), Strathclyde Chancellor’s Fellow at the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Strathclyde. 


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