Impact of Turbulence Models and Shape Parameterization on Robust Aerodynamic Shape Optimization


The objective of this paper is to investigate the impact of two commonly used turbulence models with three different shape parameterization techniques in Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes simulations on two-dimensional optimum design obtained with gradient-based deterministic and robust aerodynamic shape optimization in transonic, viscous, turbulent flow. The main contribution of this study to aerodynamic design area is to evaluate the impact of turbulence models and shape parameterization techniques on the computational cost, optimal shape, and its performance obtained with robust optimization under uncertainty. The two turbulence models investigated include Spalart-Allmaras and Menter's shear-stress transport models. Hicks-Henne bump functions, B-spline curves, and free-form deformation are used as shape parameterization techniques. The results of the current study show that the shape parameterization technique has a larger impact on the computational cost compared to the turbulence model in both deterministic and robust design. Robust design tends to reduce the impact of the turbulence model selection on the optimum shape and performance, whereas the turbulence model becomes important for the deterministic design at off-design conditions. In this study, the robustness of the final design obtained with stochastic optimization approach is also demonstrated over the Mach number range considered as the uncertain operating condition.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

Center for High Performance Computing Research


The research presented in this paper is performed under the support provided by NASA grant NNX14AN17A.

Keywords and Phrases

Aerodynamics; Curve fitting; Navier Stokes equations; Parameterization; Shear stress; Supersonic aircraft; Turbulence models, Deterministic design; Free-form deformation; Reynolds-averaged navier-stokes simulations; Robust aerodynamic shape optimizations; Shape parameterization; Shape parameterization techniques; Shear-stress transport; Stochastic optimization approach, Shape optimization

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

0021-8669; 1533-3868

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2019 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 May 2019