Multi-objective optimization of transonic airfoils using variable-fidelity models, co-kriging surrogates, and design space reduction
Computationally efficient constrained multi-objective design optimization of transonic airfoils is considered. The proposed methodology focuses on fixed-lift design aimed at finding the best possible trade-offs between the conflicting objectives. The algorithm exploits the surrogate-based optimization principle, variable-fidelity computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models, as well as auxiliary approximation surrogates (here, using kriging). The kriging models constructed within a reduced design space. The optimization process has three major stages: (i) design space reduction which involves the identification of the extreme points of the Pareto front through single-objective optimization, (ii) construction of the kriging model and an initial Pareto front generation using multi-objective evolutionary algorithm, and (iii) Pareto front refinement using co-kriging models. For the sake of computational efficiency, stages (i) and (ii) are realized at the level of low-fidelity CFD models. The proposed algorithm is applied to the multi-objective optimization of a transonic airfoil at a Mach number of 0.734 and a fixed lift coefficient of 0.824. The shape is parameterized with eight B-spline control points. The fluid flow is taken to be inviscid. The high-fidelity model solves the compressible Euler equations. The low-fidelity model is the same as the high-fidelity one, but with a coarser description and is much faster to execute. With the proposed approach, the entire Pareto front of the drag coefficient and the pitching moment coefficient is obtained using 100 low-fidelity samples and 3 high-fidelity model samples. This cost is not only considerably lower (up to two orders of magnitude) than the cost of direct high-fidelity mode optimization using metaheuristics without design space reduction, but, more importantly, renders multi-objective optimization of transonic airfoil shapes computationally tractable, even at the level of accurate CFD models.