Belgium-based aerodynamic specialist AirShaper has developed a new aerodynamic shape-optimization tool that the company says revolutionizes the conventional approach to aerodynamic design. Through the use of bespoke algorithms, the system can automatically optimize a design’s shape, helping to achieve aerodynamic performance targets and reach the optimum solution faster.
“Our mission at AirShaper is to make aerodynamic simulations accessible to everyone regardless of the industry you work in,” said Wouter Remmerie, CEO at AirShaper. “This type of optimization software is usually only available within expensive software packages and normally requires skilled engineers to set up. But our new solution offers a quick, easy alternative that still achieves accurate and reliable results.”
Remmerie noted that improving aerodynamic performance requires an iterative approach that usually involves CFD simulations and wind-tunnel tests. Typically, CFD is used to analyze the initial performance of an object and inform modifications to the design. These changes need to be re-evaluated with further CFD simulations or wind-tunnel tests to quantify the improvements, then the process repeats.
However, the aerodynamic development cycle still requires substantial budgets and long development times – problems that shape-optimization algorithms can help to solve, according to Remmerie. Importantly, there has been a huge surge in the development of shape-optimization algorithms in recent years, making them more reliable than ever.
Utilizing the adjoint optimization technique, AirShaper’s algorithms create sensitivity maps of an object’s surface in just two simulations instead of the thousands usually required. These sensitivity maps are used to automatically morph the shape of an object, which is then re-evaluated and the process starts again. This optimization cycle automatically repeats until the shape of the object has been transformed to meet its performance targets.
As a result, users no longer have to manually adjust the shape of an object and re-run simulations. All that is needed is a 3D model to be uploaded, along with details of model orientation, wind speed, morphing space and optimization goal.