A reduced-order modeling methodology for the multidisciplinary design and analysis of boundary layer ingestion configurations

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Bozeman, Michael Dwain
Mavris, Dimitri N.
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In response to the increasingly stringent requirements for subsonic transport aircraft, NASA has established aggressive goals for the noise, emissions, and fuel burn of the next generations of aircraft. This has led to the investigation of a variety of unconventional configurations and new technologies. Boundary Layer Ingestion (BLI) propulsion has been identified as a promising technology to reduce fuel burn. Preliminary studies show that BLI propulsion can offer 3-12% reduction in fuel burn, depending on the configuration. Traditionally, the design and analysis of the airframe and propulsion system has been performed in a decoupled manner. For BLI configurations, the propulsion system is tightly integrated into the airframe resulting in strong interactions between the airframe aerodynamics and propulsion system performance. As a result, the design and analysis of BLI configurations requires coupled multidisciplinary analysis (MDA) consisting of an aerodynamic analysis in an iterative loop with a propulsion system analysis. This is a very expensive analysis considering the requirement for high-fidelity models. Additionally, the design of highly-coupled configurations cannot rely solely on intuition to make design decisions. Advanced methods including Multidisciplinary Analysis and Optimization (MDAO) and design space exploration are needed to allow for the design decisions to be made based directly on a system-level objective (e.g., fuel burn) and to allow for design studies to provide insight into the multidisciplinary trades associated with BLI configurations. However, MDAO and design space exploration using coupled, high-fidelity analysis models are not practical. In this work, reduced-order modeling (ROM) is proposed as a potential solution to reduce the computational cost associated with the coupled MDA of BLI configurations and to enable these advanced design methods. An interpolation-based POD ROM is developed based on the CFD analysis to allow for predictions of the aerodynamics over a range of propulsor operating conditions for a simplified tail-cone thruster (TCT) configuration. The resulting ROM is then coupled to a propulsion model to perform ROM-based, coupled MDA. Finally, the ROM-based, coupled MDA approach is employed for coupled MDAO to assess the performance benefit offered relative to equivalent CFD- and adjoint-based approaches. The results show that the ROM-based, coupled MDA approach offers an improvement in performance relative to the current state of the art. Relative to the equivalent CFD-based approach, the ROM-based, coupled MDA method demonstrated significant computational savings for even a single optimization. However, the ROM-based approach requires multiple optimizations to offer a computational benefit over the adjoint-based approach. This result highlights the benefit of the proposed approach for optimization studies and design space exploration.
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