Research Areas in the ADL

The ADL is currently pursuing research in a number of areas related to:

  • Multidisciplinary Design, Analysis and Optimization (MDAO)

    MDAO allows the consideration of multiple disciplines and their interactions in the design of an aerospace system. Research is currently ongoing or planned in the following topics:

    • Introducing higher-fidelity tools earlier in the design process.
    • Managing tool fidelity in the design/optimization process.
    • Design under uncertainty (robust / reliability based design).
    • Hierarchical decomposition methods (to break down large design problems into smaller, simpler ones).

  • Validation & Verification and Uncertainty Quantification

    Simulation-based design requires careful control of all sources of errors and uncertainties that might be found in either the component disciplines or their interactions. Methods to handle these problems are being tackled, such as

    • Quantifying and reducing numerical errors arising from the discretization of the governing equations.
    • Understanding the effects of uncertainties due to natural variability (aleatory sources).
    • Model-form uncertainties relating to the selection of the computational model to run (epistemic sources).
    • Applications to various kinds of aerospace systems.

  • System-Level Modeling and Implications

    The implications of decisions made by exercising system-level analysis tools (beyond the aircraft level) can be very significant. Can these system-level models be enhanced to improve their predictive qualities? Research elements include:

    • Modeling problems far beyond the component level.
    • System-level interactions (networks, decision makers, aircraft, spacecraft).
    • Stochastic modeling, strategic actors, modeling strategies.

Within these major areas of research fall a number of different projects involving transonic and supersonic aircraft, surrogate-based modeling for optimization, aero- and aero-acoustics design, rotorcraft (conventional and electric-powered), hypersonic systems, high-speed re-entry, advanced computing platforms and new programming languages, modeling of plasma flows plasma actuators, development of open-source analysis and optimization techniques, technologies for Unmanned Air Vehicles, modeling of the behavior of airlines, possibilities for system-level fuel burn reductions resulting from aircraft designed differently (payload/range, cruise mach number and altitude, span limitations), interactions between air traffic and commercial space traffic, launch vehicle safety analyses, wind turbine analysis and design under uncertainty, and methods for derivative calculations (first and second) in design optimization.