Date of Award

Spring 1996

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering


Mechanical Engineering

Committee Director

Gene J. W. Hou

Committee Director

S. N. Tiwari

Committee Member

A. O. Demuren

Committee Member

P. A. Newman

Committee Member

R. E. Smith

Committee Member

A. C. Taylor


Variational methods (VM) sensitivity analysis, which is the continuous alternative to the discrete sensitivity analysis, is employed to derive the costate (adjoint) equations, the transversality conditions, and the functional sensitivity derivatives. In the derivation of the sensitivity equations, the variational methods use the generalized calculus of variations, in which the variable boundary is considered as the design function. The converged solution of the state equations together with the converged solution of the costate equations are integrated along the domain boundary to uniquely determine the functional sensitivity derivatives with respect to the design function.

The determination of the sensitivity derivatives of the performance index or functional entails the coupled solutions of the state and costate equations. As the stable and converged numerical solution of the costate equations with their boundary conditions are a priori unknown, numerical stability analysis is performed on both the state and costate equations. Thereafter, based on the amplification factors obtained by solving the generalized eigenvalue equations, the stability behavior of the costate equations is discussed and compared with the state (Euler) equations. The stability analysis of the costate equations suggests that the converged and stable solution of the costate equations is possible only if the computational domain of the costate equations is transformed to take into account the reverse flow nature of the costate equations.

The application of the variational methods to aerodynamic shape optimization problems is demonstrated for internal flow problems at supersonic Mach number range. The study shows, that while maintaining the accuracy of the functional sensitivity derivatives within the reasonable range for engineering prediction purposes, the variational methods show a substantial gain in computational efficiency, i.e., computer time and memory, when compared with the finite difference sensitivity analysis.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).