A common task in structural analysis is the static calculation of a design case using finite element analysis. Additionally, it is often desirable to investigate the influence of a design modification on an objective function describing the structure's response. Sensitivity analysis offers a systematic approach for quantifying this influence. In order to ensure an efficient computation of sensitivities, the solution procedure must be chosen according to the class of problem being investigated: In this context, the adjoint method is particularly well suited for problems with few objective functions and many design parameters such as in shape optimization. A typical example is the effect of a shape modification on structural wind loads.
Both discrete and continuous adjoint solvers are used at the institute. A comparison of the two types of adjoint methods is shown below.