A solution has been developed to the challenges of computation of derivatives with respect to geometry, which is not straightforward because these are not typically direct inputs to the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) solver. To overcome these issues, a procedure has been devised that can be used without having access to the mesh generator, while still being applicable to all types of meshes. The basic approach is inspired by the mesh motion algorithms used to deform the interior mesh nodes in a smooth manner when the surface nodes, for example, are in a fluid structure interaction problem. The general idea is to model the mesh edges and nodes as constituting a spring-mass system. Changes to boundary node locations are propagated to interior nodes by allowing them to assume their new equilibrium positions, for instance, one where the forces on each node are in balance.

The main advantage of the technique is that it is independent of the volumetric mesh generator, and can be applied to structured, unstructured, singleand multi-block meshes. It essentially reduces the problem down to defining the surface mesh node derivatives with respect to the geometry parameters of interest. For analytical geometries, this is quite straightforward. In the more general case, one would need to be able to interrogate the underlying parametric CAD (computer aided design) model and to evaluate the derivatives either analytically, or by a finite difference technique. Because the technique is based on a partial differential equation (PDE), it is applicable not only to forward mode problems (where derivatives of all the output quantities are computed with respect to a single input), but it could also be extended to the adjoint problem, either by using an analytical adjoint of the PDE or a discrete analog.

This work was done by Sanjay Mathur of Jabiru Software and Services, LLC, for Glenn Research Center.

Inquiries concerning rights for the commercial use of this invention should be addressed to NASA Glenn Research Center, Innovative Partnerships Office, Attn: Steve Fedor, Mail Stop 4–8, 21000 Brookpark Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44135. Refer to LEW-18499-1.

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the August, 2011 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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