23. February 2023 | Press releases:

Inaugural lecture by Prof. Dr Stefan Görtz Automation of aircraft design - does multidisciplinary optimisation replace the development engineer?

Prof. Dr. Stefan Görtz, Department Head at the Institute of Aerodynamics and Flow Technology of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and Professor of Multidisciplinary Optimisation at Technische Universität Braunschweig, will give his inaugural lecture “Automatisierung des Flugzeugentwurfs – ersetzt die multidisziplinäre Optimierung den Entwicklungsingenieur?” on

Wednesday, 1 March 2023, 3.00 p.m,
Aula, Pockelsstr. 11, Haus der Wissenschaft, 38106 Braunschweig.

On the way to sustainable and climate-neutral aviation, in addition to alternative propulsion concepts and fuels, the aircraft must also be further optimised in terms of efficiency. The design of a new aircraft involves thousands of decisions about shape, size, systems and operation. In making these decisions, engineers consider multiple disciplines such as aerodynamics, structures, propulsion and flight control. The development of new aircraft is therefore associated with high time and financial risks due to product complexity. In order to accelerate the introduction of innovative technologies for more economical, environmentally friendly and safer flying and to better manage technological risks, it is necessary to consistently digitalise and automate the design process.

Multidisciplinary optimisation (MDO) is a powerful tool that combines various individual disciplines to improve the overall design of an aircraft, subject to certain constraints, and has the potential to automate and accelerate some aspects of aircraft design. In addition, technological advances, such as high performance computing and high-precision simulation tools, are enabling greater use of multidisciplinary approaches in aircraft design. The MDO thus enables the systematic and robust assessment of the impact of new technologies and the performance of comparative studies. It also avoids costly redesigns by considering more requirements and the interaction between disciplines earlier in the design process. However, MDO still requires the contribution, experience and expertise of engineers to define the design conditions and objectives, generate disciplinary models, couple them, validate and verify the results. MDO is therefore a highly collaborative effort between aircraft design engineers, disciplinary experts, MDO specialists and IT specialists.

How multidisciplinary optimisation can help to design better aircraft faster and why design engineers are still needed is the topic of this inaugural lecture. It includes an introduction to the topic and an overview of relevant methodological approaches, discusses various applications of MDO in aircraft design as well as current industry-relevant challenges and outlines the need for further research and development.

About the person

Stefan Görtz studied Mechanical and Automotive Engineering in Darmstadt, Lausanne and Stockholm and completed his PhD in Aerospace Engineering at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm in 2005. His doctoral thesis focused on simulating the aerodynamics of delta wings using novel CFD methods. After working as a visiting researcher at the Swedish Defence Research Agency, he went to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs as a postdoctoral researcher on a research fellowship awarded by the U.S. National Research Council. There he worked on research into methods for efficient numerical simulation of the flight characteristics of military aircraft. In 2006, he started as a research associate at DLR in Braunschweig and in 2007 he took over the leadership of a research group working on the modelling of aerodynamic data based on CFD simulations and measurement data as well as the numerical optimisation of aircraft. Since December 2019, he has been Professor of Multidisciplinary Optimisation at TU Braunschweig. In conjunction with this, he took over as head of the C²A²S²E (Center for Computer Applications in AeroSpace Science and Engineering) department at the DLR Institute of Aerodynamics and Flow Technology at the beginning of 2020. The department is involved in researching, evaluating and providing advanced numerical methods and software solutions for applications in aircraft aerodynamics, from flight physics design to virtual certification.