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Sensitivity analysis in multipole-accelerated panel methods for potential flowIn the design of an airframe, the effect of changing the geometry on resulting computations is necessary for design optimization. The geometry is defined in terms of a series of design variables, including design variables to define the wing planform, tail, canard, pylon, and nacelle. Design optimization in this research is based on how these design variable affect the potential flow. The potential flow is computed as a function of the geometry and location of a series of panels describing the airframe, which are in turn a function of the design variables. Multipole accelerated panel methods improve the computational complexity of the problem and thus are an attractive approach. To utilize the methods in design optimization, it was necessary to define the appropriate sensitivity derivatives. The overhead incurred from finding the sensitivity derivatives in conjunction with the original computation should be small. This research developed the background for multipole-accelerated panel methods and the framework for finding sensitivity derivatives in the methods. Potential flow panel codes are commonly used for powered-lift aerodynamic predictions for three dimensional geometries. Given an airframe which has been discretized into a series of panels to define the airframe geometry, potential is computed as a function of the influence of all panels on all other panels. This is a computationally intensive problem for which efficient solutions are desired to improve the computational time and to allow greater resolution by use of more panels. One such solution is the use of hierarchical multipole methods which entail approximations of the effects of far-field terms. Hierarchical multipole methods have become prevalent in molecular dynamics and gravitational physics, and have been introduced into the fields of capacitance calculations, computational fluid dynamics, and electromagnetics. The methods utilize multipole expansions to describe the effect of bodies (i.e. particles, astrophysical bodies, panels, etc.) within a sphere on points distant from the sphere, where the influence diminishes as a function of distance. The expansions are exact with infinite series, however, for practical computations, the series are truncated and accuracy is selected based on the number of terms retained in the expansions. A hierarchical tree structure groups bodies together based on proximity to allow definition of multipole expansions for each group. The multipole expansions are then used to compute the effect of the bodies in a group on distant bodies.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Leathrum, James F., Jr.
(Old Dominion Univ. Norfolk, VA United States)
Date Acquired
August 17, 2013
Publication Date
December 1, 1995
Publication Information
Publication: The 1995 NASA-ODU American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Summer Faculty Fellowship Program
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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IDRelationTitle19960020755Analytic PrimaryThe 1995 NASA-ODU American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Summer Faculty Fellowship Program
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