Multidisciplinary Design Optimization
Multidisciplinary Design Optimization (MDO) is a field of engineering that focuses on the use of numerical optimization for the design of systems that involve a number of disciplines or subsystems (e.g., thermodynamics, mechanics, fluid dynamics, etc). The main motivation for using MDO is that the performance of a multidisciplinary system is driven not only by the performance of the individual disciplines but also by their interactions. By solving the MDO problem early in the design process and taking advantage of advanced computational analysis tools, we at IDENER simultaneously improve the design and reduce the time and cost of the design cycle.
One of the first applications of MDO was aircraft wing design, where aerodynamics, structures, and controls are three strongly coupled disciplines. More recently, the application of MDO has been extended to complete aircraft and a wide range of other engineering systems, such as bridges, buildings, railway cars, microscopes, automobiles, ships, propellers, wind turbines, etc.
The underlying idea of a MDO implementation is to solve a given optimization problem, i.e., finding “best available” values of some objective function given a defined domain. However, the most difficult part of the process is the optimization problem formulation itself. Indeed, one of the most important considerations when implementing MDO is how to organize the discipline analysis models, approximation models (if any), and optimization software in concert with the problem formulation so that an optimal design is achieved.
To reach such an end, there are a wide variety of different methods (multidisciplinary feasible, individual discipline feasible, simultaneous analysis and design, collaborative optimization, etc), each of which formulates the problem in a different manner. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages and their performance is very much problem dependent.
MDO is a broad area which generally requires a sound mathematical formulation. Taking advantage of the extensive expertise of our multidisciplinary team in a variety of engineering disciplines as well as the solid mathematical background characterizing the company, we at IDENER combine off-the-shell optimization software and advanced computer-aided software with self-developed optimization algorithms. The resulting multidisciplinary design optimization framework represents one of the most distinguishing traits of the company.