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Development of a 3D CFD aerodynamic optimization tool and application to engine air intake design

Grégory Millot (Altran Technologies, Blagnac, France)
Olivier Scholz (Altran Technologies, Blagnac, France)
Saïd Ouhamou (Altran Technologies, Blagnac, France)
Mathieu Becquet (Altran Technologies, Blagnac, France)
Sébastien Magnabal (Altran Technologies, Blagnac, France)

International Journal of Numerical Methods for Heat & Fluid Flow

ISSN: 0961-5539

Article publication date: 13 June 2019

Issue publication date: 20 August 2020




The paper deals with research activities to develop optimization workflows implying computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling. The purpose of this paper is to present an industrial and fully-automated optimal design tool, able to handle objectives, constraints, multi-parameters and multi-points optimization on a given CATIA CAD. The work is realized on Rapid And CostEffective Rotorcraft compound rotorcraft in the framework of the Fast RotorCraft Innovative Aircraft Demonstrator Platform (IADP) within the Clean Sky 2 programme.


The proposed solution relies on an automated CAD-CFD workflow called through the optimization process based on surrogate-based optimization (SBO) techniques. The SBO workflow has been specifically developed.


The methodology is validated on a simple configuration (bended pipe with two parameters). Then, the process is applied on a full compound rotorcraft to minimize the flow distortion at the engine entry. The design of the experiment and the optimization loop act on seven design parameters of the air inlet and for each individual the evaluation is performed on two operation points, namely, cruise flight and hover case. Finally, the best design is analyzed and aerodynamic performances are compared with the initial design.


The adding value of the developed process is to deal with geometric integration conflicts addressed through a specific CAD module and the implementation of a penalty function method to manage the unsuccessful evaluation of any individual.



The project leading to this application has received funding from the Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Figure 20) under grant agreement No [686852].

The authors would like to thank Airbus Helicopters for their involvement on this project.


Millot, G., Scholz, O., Ouhamou, S., Becquet, M. and Magnabal, S. (2020), "Development of a 3D CFD aerodynamic optimization tool and application to engine air intake design", International Journal of Numerical Methods for Heat & Fluid Flow, Vol. 30 No. 9, pp. 4219-4239.



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