Airfoil Morphed Leading-Edge Design for High-Lift Applications Using Genetic Algorithm

Christopher R. Colletti, Phillip J. Ansell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A genetic algorithm was developed for the optimal design of morphing airfoil leading-edge shapes to maximize airfoil Cl; max, while retaining a constant leading-edge arc length. Using a candidate slotted, natural laminar flow airfoil, an inviscid–viscous flow simulation program suite was used to evaluate a randomized population of airfoils during the design process at low-speed, high-lift flight conditions of a representative single-aisle commercial transport aircraft. The use of a continuous morphing strategy to perform treatment of the leading-edge geometry in high-lift scenarios, as opposed to leading-edge flap or slat elements, is envisaged as a means to mitigate surface discontinuities and retain laminar flow qualities of future airfoil sections in cruise conditions. By using different definitions of the objective cost function, multiple morphed airfoil designs were found through the genetic algorithm to create a library of possible designs aimed to purposefully alleviate the leading-edge stall tendencies of the baseline airfoil. Three morphed designs were validated through experimentation in a low-speed, open-return wind tunnel. Resulting data were used to verify that the leading-edge separation property of the baseline airfoil during stall was effectively alleviated with use of the morphed leading-edge geometries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)160-171
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Aircraft
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering


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