pyCAPS: A Python Interface to the Computational Aircraft Prototype Syntheses

Ryan Durscher (Air Force Research Laboratory), Dennis Reedy (Asarian Technologies LLC)

CHALLENGE - The Computational Aircraft Prototype Syntheses (CAPS) enables vehicle designers to create multi-disciplinary, multi-fidelity analysis models from a single, parametric geometric source. These capabilities are natively accessed programmatically through an interface written in the C programing language, which can present a significant hurdle for initial users.

SOLUTION - To lower entry barriers, enable scriptable problem formulation, and improve overall flexibility, a Python-based interface module, pyCAPS, was created. The following paper provides an overview of pyCAPS’s capabilities and interface, while also providing simple examples of its use. Furthermore, details and discussions are provided on how pyCAPS can be used to integrate CAPS capabilities into external MultiDisciplinary Analysis and Optimization (MDAO) frameworks. modeFRONTIER can also interface CAPS through the use of pyCAPS. 

BENEFITS - Using modeFRONTIER’s scripting node for Python, CAPS problems can be used as a main project or a subproject. An example of this is shown in the figure where two CAPS problems utilizing the analysis interfaces for TSFoil and XFoil are setup to implement a DOE sweep over a range of Mach numbers (analysis input) and airfoil cambers (geometry input). Design variables (Mach number and airfoil camber) are linked automatically within modeFrontier and propagated through the scripting node into CAPS.