You are on page 1of 17

Multiobjective Modeling and

Optimization in Design

Progress Report

Qiang Chen, Derek Dalle,

Chad Griep, Jingwei Hu,
Jahmario Williams, Zhenqiu Xie
• Optimal design of
subsonic aircraft
– Study how changes in the shape
of aircraft affect aerodynamics.

• More importantly, figure

out what to optimize.

• Apply this to quiet

supersonic aircraft.
– Investigate intricacies and
difficulties inherent in designing
a cost-effective, efficient and
quiet supersonic passenger
Configuration Design Objective
Variables for Conceptual Design Functions
• Reference wing area • Minimum gross weight
• Wing sweep angle • Minimum fuel burned
• Wing aspect ratio • Maximum range
• Wing taper ratio • Minimum cost
• Wing-thickness chord ratio • Minimum NOx emissions
• Gross weight
• Thrust

sweep angle
Typical Engineer’s Method
• Establish requirements.

• Design an aircraft that

successfully meets the

• Try to optimize by
changing one (or
several) design variable
at a time.

• Ad hoc stopping criteria

are used.
Problems with Old Methods
• This process is slow.

• Optimization occurs too


• Engineers have been

successful, but design is
based on experience.

• Some problems are too


• Real problems are

massively multiobjective.
Flight Optimization System
FLOPS (A. McCullers)
• FLOPS analyzes a
complete aircraft given a
large set of design
variables and options.

• FLOPS also does

nonlinear optimization by
minimizing Σωifi where
each fi is a single
objective function.

• We are looking for better

decision-making tools.
Relationships between design
variables and objective functions
Look at 5 main design variables:
THRUST ---- Maximum rated thrust per engine
SWEEP ---- Quarter-chord sweep angle of the wing
AR ---- Wing aspect ratio
TCA ---- Wing thickness-chord ratio
SW ---- Reference wing area
Objective functions: Fuel Usage, Gross
Weight and their (weighted) average.
Optimality for
Single Objective
Study sensitivity of single objective function to variations in
design variables
• FLOPS aproach
– Enter parametrically varied design variables into input file and
chose objective function to study
– Run FLOPS to analyze the inputs
– Read values of objective function from (contour plot data)
output file
• FLOPS with Matlab approach
– Use Matlab to generate mesh of two design variables
– Rewrite the input file with updated variables
– Call FLOPS to analyze the inputs
– Read output for objective function
– Write data file and plot results
Optimality for Multiple
• Analyze competing elements in supersonic aircraft
shape optimization (i.e., low boom versus low drag).
• Discuss condition where one objective cannot be
improved without hurting another.
Pareto optimality
• Pareto optimality (or efficiency) occurs
when one cannot decrease one objective
without increasing another. F1
• Decision making plays
an important role.
• Choose proper weights
F  w1F1  w 2 F2

Not perfect curve.
• Objective functions have many local minima
(artifact of numerical procedures).
• The graph implies that we need more work on
Using other optimization codes
• To investigate alternative formulations, we need to use
tools that are external to FLOPS.
• NPSOL (Stanford Software, Gill et al.) is a set of Fortran
subroutines for minimizing a smooth function subject to
bounds on variables, linear constraints and smooth
nonlinear constraints.
• It uses a sequential quadratic programming (SQP)
• Call previous Matlab codes to adjust input variables,
perform analysis and read output results.
• Use NPSOL to minimize the result (weighted objective
• Used “out of the box”, NPSOL did not
provide better results than FLOPS itself
– Price of running FLOPS is quite high
– May not be efficient enough in handling this
special problem
– May need fine tuning
• A bootstrapping strategy of the two
codes can do quite well
Minimization Obtained
Minimum of Gross Weight
FLOPS 213554
NPSOL 221495
FLOPS + NPSOL 211920
2 * (FLOPS + 210046
• Unconstrained optimal
design of subsonic aircraft.
– Done using Mathematica’s
FindMinimum command and
– “Optimal” designs are often
unrealistic (because of the
problem formulation).

• Once constraints are applied,

more sophisticated objective
functions can be used.

• More design variables can

also be used.
Future Work
• Investigate the effects of
multiple objectives.

• Model sound and energy

produced from sonic
overpressure signal.

• Understand relationships
between aircraft design and 1

overpressure signal.

• The goal is an analysis -1

method that could be used
with an optimization -2

-1 -0.5 0 0.5 1