Neil Wu wins best student paper at AIAA Aviation Conference

U-M Aero PhD student lauded for research in aerodynamic shape optimization

U-M Aerospace PhD candidate Neil Wu won the best student paper award at the AIAA Aviation conference this summer for his research on aerodynamic  shape optimization in aircraft design. This work is part of a broader project in the Airbus-University of Michigan Center for Aero-Servo-Elasticity of Very Flexible Aircraft.

His paper, Sensitivity-based Geometric Parameterization for Aerodynamic Shape Optimization, demonstrates a new method to control the shape of the wing when performing optimization, achieving optimal designs faster than traditional methods.

The method automatically constructs improved geometric design variables when designing the shape of aircraft wings. Wu introduces a sensitivity-based geometric parameterization approach that maps and scales the design space onto another space that is better suited for gradient-based optimization.

On winning best paper, Wu comments, “I’m grateful for the chance to present my work in person at the Aviation conference, especially after two years of remote work. I’m absolutely thrilled to receive the award, and it’s been a privilege to work with so many talented people in the aerospace department.”

Wu works under Joaquim R.R.A. Martins in the Multidisciplinary Design Optimization Lab. Martins’ comments, “Neil is meticulous in his research and technical communication, so I’m not surprised that he won this prize. This research was driven by Airbus’ need to speed up the aircraft design process and resulted in software that Airbus is now using.”