Ram-air kite airfoil and reinforcements optimization for airborne wind energy applications

Paul Thedens, Gael De Oliveira Andrade, Roland Schmehl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
209 Downloads (Pure)


We present a multidisciplinary design optimization method for the profile and structural reinforcement layout of a ram‐air kite rib. The aim is to minimize the structural elastic energy and to maximize the traction power of a ram‐air kite used for airborne wind energy generation. Because of the large deformations occurring during flight, a fluid‐structure interaction (FSI) routine is included in the optimization, which determines the actual deformed rib geometry and its corresponding aerodynamic characteristics. A qualitative comparison between FSI inclusion and exclusion in the optimization is given. Discrepancies in airfoil profile and structural layout are observed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-665
Number of pages13
JournalWind Energy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


  • airborne wind energy
  • airfoil shape optimization
  • MDO
  • ram-air kite
  • reinforcements


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