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Improved simulation capabilities for better aircraft designs

In aeronautical industry numerical flow simulation has become a key element in the aerodynamic design process. However, in order to meet the ambitious goals for air traffic of the next decades, significant investment in enhancing the capabilities and tools of numerical simulations in various aspects is required.
Improved simulation capabilities for better aircraft designs
The majority of the aerodynamic simulation tools used in the aeronautical industry for routine applications are mainly based on finite volume methods. Being bound in most of the cases to second order discretization of the underlying governing equations, real-life applications require tens or hundreds of million mesh points to enable accurate solutions and to provide deep insight into complex flow features. In recent years there has been worldwide an ever increasing effort in the development of high-order CFD methods. Compared to its low-order counterparts, high-order methods offer large potential to either increase the predictive accuracy related to the discretization error at given costs or to significantly reduce computational expenses for a prescribed accuracy. However, due to their inherent high complexity, high-order simulation methods require significant investments to reach industrial maturity.

The overall objective of the EU funded ‘Industrialisation of high-order methods – a top-down approach’ (IDIHOM) project was to enhance and mature adaptive high-order simulation methods for large scale applications in aircraft analysis and design. The project was driven by a top-down approach, in which dedicated enhancements and improvements of the complete high-order simulation framework, including grid generation, flow solver efficiency and flow visualization, were led by a suite of underlying and challenging test cases.

the test case suite included turbulent steady and unsteady aerodynamic flows, covering external and internal aerodynamics as well as aero-elastic and aero-acoustic applications. The challenging application cases defined by the industry formed the basis for the demonstration and assessment of the current status of high-order methods as a workhorse for industrial applications.

IDIHOM was assigned to help to close the gap between current expectations of what high-order methods are capable of and their strongly required use for industrial real-world applications – reaching out for improved, more accurate and time-saving design processes.

Related information


Aircraft design, numerical methods, high-order methods, computational fluid dynamics
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