Sculptor® is a commercially available software tool, based on an Arbitrary Shape Design (ASD), which allows the user to perform shape optimization for computational fluid dynamics (CFD) design. The developed software tool provides important advances in the state-of-the-art of automatic CFD shape deformations and optimization software. CFD is an analysis tool that is used by engineering designers to help gain a greater understanding of the fluid flow phenomena involved in the components being designed. The next step in the engineering design process is to then modify, the design to improve the components’ performance. This step has traditionally been performed manually via trial and error. Two major problems that have, in the past, hindered the development of an automated CFD shape optimization are (1) inadequate shape parameterization algorithms, and (2) inadequate algorithms for CFD grid modification.

The ASD that has been developed as part of the Sculptor® software tool is a major advancement in solving these two issues. First, the ASD allows the CFD designer to freely create his own shape parameters, thereby eliminating the restriction of only being able to use the CAD model parameters. Then, the software performs a smooth volumetric deformation, which eliminates the extremely costly process of having to remesh the grid for every shape change (which is how this process had previously been achieved). Sculptor® can be used to optimize shapes for aerodynamic and structural design of spacecraft, aircraft, watercraft, ducts, and other objects that affect and are affected by flows of fluids and heat. Sculptor® makes it possible to perform, in real time, a design change that would manually take hours or days if remeshing were needed.

This program was written by Mark Landon and Ernest Perry of Optimal Solutions Software, LLC for Stennis Space Center. For more information, contact Optimal Solutions at 208-521-4660. SSC-00290

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the January, 2014 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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