Coupled aerostructural topology optimization using a level set method for 3D aircraft wings

Peter D. Dunning, Bret K. Stanford, H. Alicia Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (SciVal)
387 Downloads (Pure)


The purpose of this work is to develop a level set topology optimization method for an unstructured three-dimensional mesh and apply it to wing box design for coupled aerostructural considerations. The paper develops fast marching and upwind schemes suitable for unstructured meshes, which make the level set method robust and efficient. The method is applied to optimize a representative wing box internal structure for the NASA Common Research Model. The objective is to minimize the total compliance of the wing box. The trim condition that aerodynamic lift must balance the total weight of the aircraft is enforced by allowing the root angle of attack to change. The adjoint method is used to obtain the coupled shape sensitivities required to perform aerostructural optimization of the wing box. Optimum solutions for several aerodynamic and body force load cases, as well as a ground load case, are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1113-1132
Number of pages20
JournalStructural and Multidisciplinary Optimization
Issue number5
Early online date28 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015


  • 3D unstructured mesh
  • Level set method
  • Multi-disciplinary optimization
  • Topology optimization


Dive into the research topics of 'Coupled aerostructural topology optimization using a level set method for 3D aircraft wings'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this