Date of Award

Spring 1996

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering


Mechanical Engineering

Committee Director

Surendra N. Tiwari

Committee Director

Robert E. Smith

Committee Member

Arthur C. Taylor, III

Committee Member

Gene J.-W. Hou


A novel (geometrical) parametrization procedure using solutions to a suitably chosen fourth order partial differential equation is used to define a class of airplane configurations. Inclusive in this definition are surface grids, volume grids, and grid sensitivity. The general airplane configuration has wing, fuselage, vertical tail and horizontal tail. The design variables are incorporated into the boundary conditions, and the solution is expressed as a Fourier series. The fuselage has circular cross section, and the radius is an algebraic function of four design parameters and an independent computational variable. Volume grids are obtained through an application of the Control Point Form method. A graphic interface software is developed which dynamically changes the surface of the airplane configuration with the change in input design variable. The software is made user friendly and is targeted towards the initial conceptual development of any aerodynamic configurations. Grid sensitivity with respect to surface design parameters and aerodynamic sensitivity coefficients based on potential flow is obtained using an Automatic Differentiation precompiler software tool ADIFOR. Aerodynamic shape optimization of the complete aircraft with twenty four design variables is performed. Unstructured and structured volume grids and Euler solutions are obtained with standard software to demonstrate the feasibility of the new surface definition.