Niels Aage

last updated 4/28/2017

Niels Aage

Lektor at Danish Technical University

Location:
Anker Engelunds Vej 1, Lyngby, North Denmark, Denmark
HQ Phone:
+45 45 25 25 25

General Information

Experience

Associate Professor - Technical University of Denmark

Consultant - Dobbelt A Administration & Consulting

Recent News  

Engineering Archives - TARC Technology Review

Engineers have been using these kinds of optimization techniques for around 20 years, but only for smaller-scale problems, such as individual wing components, or much simpler structures, says Niels Aage, an engineer at the Technical University of Denmark, near Copenhagen, who led the work1.
Aage and his colleagues used the Curie supercomputer in Bruyères-le-Châtel near Paris to increase the resolution, enabling them to model the entire 27-metre-long wing of a Boeing 777.

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How to evolve an aircraft wing

"We repeat the cycle until the designs stop changing," says Niels Aage, professor of mechanical engineering at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU).
Each design cycle is performed using rigorous mathematics such that the new design always outperforms the previous. In the case of the aircraft wing, the end result is a structure that is very curved at the root and almost straight at the tip - like a bird's wing. "The fact that the optimization framework produces designs that resemble existing aircraft means that 120 years of previous research hasn't been wasted," says Aage. Aage first tested his new optimization code on the JESS cluster at DTU. Aage admits that the full optimized design is too intricate to be manufactured using current methods, but rapid advances in 3D printing and additive manufacturing may soon overcome that obstacle.

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Supercomputer Redesign of Aeroplane Wing Mirrors Bird Anatomy - TARC Technology Review

Engineers have been using these kinds of optimization techniques for around 20 years, but only for smaller-scale problems, such as individual wing components, or much simpler structures, says Niels Aage, an engineer at the Technical University of Denmark, near Copenhagen, who led the work1.
Aage and his colleagues used the Curie supercomputer in Bruyères-le-Châtel near Paris to increase the resolution, enabling them to model the entire 27-metre-long wing of a Boeing 777. The team started with a wing outline already optimized for maximum lift and minimum drag, known as an aerofoil, and split it into 1.1 billion 3D pixels or 'voxels'. Each is about the size of the smallest Lego brick - a resolution roughly 200 times greater than previous efforts. The algorithm began by simulating the force exerted on every block and distributing material in response to where the wing experienced a load. Without any human guidance, the program then repeated the analysis several hundred times, adding or removing material depending on the strain felt by each brick, until it reached a final optimum design. "The structure evolves through each design cycle," says Aage. "The process has many similarities to nature's own evolution." Organic flight Unlike conventional wings, the resulting structure did not contain the usual straight beams running the length of the wings, interspersed by crossing supports. Instead, the design looks organic, says Aage. Curved supports fan out at the trailing edge of the wing, resembling the bones in birds' wings, and intricate support structures in the leading edge look like the internal structure of a beak. Without compromising stiffness (resistance to deformation), the design weighs 2-5% less than conventional wing structures. That translates into 200-500 kilograms per wing, potentially saving each plane between 40 and 200 tonnes of fuel per year, say the authors. The technique could also be applied to other industries, says Aage, for example, to design high-rise buildings in earthquake-prone zones that maintain their stiffness yet can withstand the dynamics of a quake. It could be used to optimize acoustics, ventilation systems and antennas, as well, he adds. But for now, key aspects of it could be fed into structures produced using conventional methods, says Aage.

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