An innovative tool for shape optimization of low speed airfoils was
developed by the author at KTH, in 1997-2000. The tool is written
in Matlab, and is constructed by coupling the Matlab Optimization
Toolbox with a parametrised numerical aerodynamic solver. The
airfoil shape is expressed analytically as a function of some
design parameters. The NACA 4 digits library is used with design
parameters that control the camber and the thickness of the
airfoil. The solver has to provide fast and robust computation of
the lift, pitching moment and drag of an airfoil placed in a
low-speed viscous flow. A one- way coupled inviscid - boundary
layer model is used. The derivatives of these results are also
computed by the solver. This was done by automatic differentiation,
a technique for augmenting computer programs with the computation
of derivatives based on the chain rule of differential calculus.
Finally as an application, sample optimization problems are solved
and the resulting optimal airfoils are analysed.
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