Working on supercavitating foil optimisation

ESTECO supports Syroco

ESTECO has committed to support Syroco’s quest to design a speedcraft capable of shattering the World sailing speed record. As part of this partnership, the software vendor is providing Syroco with modeFRONTIER, its comprehensive solution for process automation and optimisation in the engineering design process.

Syroco’s partner Cubit Innovation Labs, with whom Syroco co-innovates in several critical fields, also brought to the table extensive knowledge that they have acquired during years of experience working with modeFRONTIER. 

Using modeFRONTIER

The modeFRONTIER platform has been used for years in the sailing world for multidisciplinary design optimisation. Projects the solution supported include for example designing America’s Cup AC75 foiling yachts, known to be able to sail at a speed of up to 50 knots (92.6 km/h). Luna Rossa PRADA Pirelli, American Magic, Groupama team France and Land Rover BAR also relied on modeFRONTIER to design their America’s Cup boats in recent editions of the contest.

The Syroco Lab research and simulation team, under the leadership of Ph.D Catherine Ramirez Villalba and Ph.D Romain Lanos, is leveraging modeFRONTIER for automating simulation processes and optimising the design of several critical components of the Syroco speedcraft. Probably one of the most challenging aspects is to optimise the profile of the foil that anchors the speedcraft to water, and needs to work in both subcavitating and supercavitating regimes

Designing an innovative optimisation procedure for supercavitating foils

In November 2021, at the International CAE Conference and Exhibition, Engineer Michele Farnesi of Cubit Innovation Labs, presented the findings of the work performed in collaboration by the Cubit and the Syroco teams, using modeFRONTIER. 

The major challenge in this high-performance foil design is the requirement for an hydrodynamics optimisation procedure to obtain the desired performance and stability, while taking into account the feasibility of the components and controlling the computational costs.

The work started with a 2D section, initially derived from scientific literature and optimised in supercavitating regimes, compliant with structural and manufacturer technological requirements of the section-based wing. This study allowed the combination of a CAD tool with structural software and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software, as well as libraries that made it possible to evaluate structural constraints and approximate a behavior in 3D by computing the drag and lift of the section. Then, thanks to the knowledge built during this project, it was possible to fulfill the lack of know-how about supercavitating wings behavior to obtain the section-based 3D wing’s overall performance prediction. 

While hydrodynamic characteristics were evaluated using CFD software, the feasibility of the wing construction was evaluated with a Finite Elements Method analysis imposing custom forces from CFD results. This procedure led to a well-defined and fast design space exploration obtaining a wing drag reduction of more than 25% with respect to a reference solution with an imposed target lift.


Surface load distribution on the wing used for FEM analysis


Drag value plotted against the aspect ratio of all evaluated geometries

The simulation and optimisation process evaluated 4063 designs, singling out 594 designs complying with constraints and 548 designs not complying; the remaining configurations are referred to self-intersecting sections or not complying with manufacture or beyond aspect ratio limitations.

A 25% improvement was achieved with respect to previous internal reference, exploring a large portion of design space available. The robustness of the procedure is demonstrated by the presence of a pareto front with several converging optima.


ESTECO is an independent software company, highly specialised in numerical optimisation and simulation process and data management. With a 20-year experience, ESTECO supports over 300 international organisations in excelling in their digital engineering experience, accelerating the decision making process and reducing development time. Ford Motor Company, Honda, Lockheed Martin, Toyota and Whirlpool are just a few of the major companies relying on ESTECO technology.

ESTECO is the owner of VOLTA, the innovative enterprise platform for Simulation Process and Data Management and design optimisation, and modeFRONTIER, the leading software solution for simulation process automation and optimisation in the engineering design process.