Automotive Design Optimization

Automotive Design Optimization using Pointwise, Sculptor, and OpenFOAM®

High quality meshing coupled with robust shape deformation techniques enable large design space exploration for optimization without the need to remesh the geometry. To demonstrate this, we introduce a collection of best practices for cleaning complex analytic CAD encountered in the automotive industry and demonstrate a robust meshing technology that can automatically generate high quality boundary layer resolved meshes that retain their quality when morphed by Sculptor during the optimization process.

The case study for this work is the DrivAer model developed by the Institute of Aerodynamics and Fluid Mechanics at the Technische Universität München. Using this geometry, we demonstrate a technique called Solid Meshing to heal faults in the geometry and recover the original engineering intent and when coupled with T-Rex (anisotropic tetrahedral extrusion) enables automated, high quality volumetric grid generation.

Using the DrivAer mesh, we define a set of volumetric shape deformations using few design variables within Sculptor. A technology called Arbitrary Shape Deformation is used to smoothly morph the nodes of the mesh that are inside of the volumetric deformation space. Even for large deformations, this technology can maintain surface boundary layer thickness and orientation.

By eliminating the requirement to remesh after each volumetric deformation, solution changes are minimized and primarily subjected to the changes seen by the OpenFOAM flow results due to model differences. Also, all tools have been coupled to form an automated optimization framework making it possible to find the subtle shape changes that produce large improvements in design performance.

Discover how to:

  • Quickly clean up and organize dirty CAD using Solid Meshing.
  • Generate a high quality surface and volume mesh using T-Rex.
  • Save time by directly examining grid quality metrics within Pointwise.
  • Export grid and boundary conditions in native OpenFOAM format.
  • Easily define shape deformation control points using Sculptor.


Travis Carrigan, Pointwise,inc.

Travis Carrigan

Pointwise, Inc.

Travis Carrigan joined Pointwise as a senior engineer after completing his M.S. in aerospace engineering at The University of Texas at Arlington in May 2011 where his graduate research involved aerodynamic design optimization. He interned at Pointwise beginning May 2008, producing demonstration and application videos and working in technical support, doing grid projects and quality assurance testing. During a prior internship at Vought Aircraft Industries, Mr. Carrigan worked as a quality engineer on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner Program. As a senior engineer at Pointwise, Mr. Carrigan works with clients to strengthen their CFD processes by developing interactive and automated meshing solutions.

Mark Landon, Optimal Solutions

Mark Landon

Optimal Solutions

Mark Landon is the Chief Technology Officer and founder of Optimal Solutions software. He is the architect of Sculptor, a program for morphing CAD, CFD, FEA, geometry and shape optimization. Dr. Landon holds a Ph.D. in Engineering Structural Mechanics from Brigham Young University (1989). He has also been an Adjunct Professor in Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Colorado, the University of Idaho, and Brigham Young University, a Senior Advisory Engineer at the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory (1993 to 2011). Previous employment includes working on the Space Shuttle Main Engines and performing aerodynamics shape optimization of supersonic and hypersonic vehicles for DOD & NASA.