

Jan 02, 2015, 10:57 PM  

I have questions about basic use of this software.
I have been using Xfoil for a bit now. My mac is operating on Yosemite. X11 is installed. XoptFoil 1.3.1, the included, minimal version of Xfoil, and Design Plotter seem to be working properly. After XoptFoil, and Design Plotter run, I am given 5 .dat files: design_coordinates, design_polars, optfoil, particleswarm_designs, simplex_designs. What software should I be using to graphically view these data? What must I do to extract a particular iteration of foil redesign for evaluation by Xfoil, or just to plot it? Feeling kinda dense here... HELP 
Jan 03, 2015, 12:39 PM  

Quote:
No, you're not being dense at all. The files are written in a format that can be loaded directly and displayed in a program called Tecplot 360, which we have where I work. I realize most people don't have that, but you can still use the files. Here is a description of each of them. particleswarm_designs.dat: Values of the design variables for each subsequently better design found by particle swarm optimization. simplex_designs.dat: Same as above, but for the direct search algorithm. You will get the above two files if your search type is "global_and_local." Otherwise, you will just get one of them. Those files act as input files for the design_plotter tool; they are not actually meant to be viewed graphically by themselves. The design_plotter tool takes them and uses them to generate airfoil coordinates and polars. design_coordinates.dat: This file is generated by design_plotter. These are the x, y coordinates of each subsequently better airfoil design found by the optimizer. They don't exactly correspond to optimizer iterations, because during some iterations the airfoil design isn't improved. But if you want to analyze one of these notfullyoptimized airfoil designs, just copy and paste the coordinates under one of the "zone t=..." labels. You can graph these in Excel, Matlab, etc., or use them to make a .dat input file for XFoil. You could also write a script in Python or Matlab to plot them automatically, if you know how to do that. design_polars.dat: The lift and drag coefficients for each subsequently better design found by the optimizer, corresponding to the coordinates in design_coordinates.dat, at the operating points you requested for the optimization. optfoil.dat: The coordinates of the final optimized design. These are the same as the coordinates of the last design in design_coordinates.dat, but this file is written automatically by the optimizer at the end of a run (you don't need to run design_plotter to get it). Hope this helps! 

Feb 15, 2015, 04:11 AM  

Did you ever think of using spline points as airfoil variables for your optimization?
When I play with XLFR5 (XFOIL) I am amazed at how accuratly a spline defined by 6 points (6 for the upper airfoil and 6 for the lower airfoil) can define most airfoils. Would it be interesting to do so in your program? The coordinates of the spilne would be the vector of 2 x 6 x 2 = 24 coordinates? Just my two cents... 
Feb 15, 2015, 02:56 PM  

Hey Paul,
I did try using spline control points as design variables before in my original airfoil optimization tests with Matlab. It may have just been the type of spline that I was using, but it didn't seem to work as well as the perturbation methods I am using now with Xoptfoil. Thanks for the kind words about the program. Dan 
Feb 16, 2015, 12:14 AM  

Dan,
I have spent half of my professional life optimizing engineering solutions with the classic methods and I know things never go as you want. And I can also imagine the amount of work you have already put in there, not to mention the pain and frustrations. Keep up the good work! 
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