Optimization and Engineering

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 33–62 | Cite as

A Coupled-Adjoint Sensitivity Analysis Method for High-Fidelity Aero-Structural Design

  • Joaquim R.R.A. Martins
  • Juan J. Alonso
  • James J. Reuther


This paper presents an adjoint method for sensitivity analysis that is used in an aero-structural aircraft design framework. The aero-structural analysis uses high-fidelity models of both the aerodynamics and the structures. Aero-structural sensitivities are computed using a coupled-adjoint approach that is based on previously developed single discipline sensitivity analysis. Alternative strategies for coupled sensitivity analysis are also discussed. The aircraft geometry and a structure of fixed topology are parameterized using a large number of design variables. The aero-structural sensitivities of aerodynamic and structural functions with respect to these design variables are computed and compared with results given by the complex-step derivative approximation. The coupled-adjoint procedure is shown to yield very accurate sensitivities and to be computationally efficient, making high-fidelity aero-structural design feasible for problems with thousands of design variables.

sensitivity analysis adjoint method aero-structural design complex-step method 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joaquim R.R.A. Martins
    • 1
  • Juan J. Alonso
    • 2
  • James J. Reuther
    • 3
  1. 1.University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace StudiesTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Stanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  3. 3.NASA Ames Research CenterMoffett FieldUSA

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