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PhD Research Project

EngD-13 Risk and optimisation in low-emission aero-engine combustor design (Rolls-Royce plc)


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School of Engineering Sciences

Engineering & The Environment
Dr E.S. Richardson
Prof A Keane
No more applications being accepted
Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

This project develops an integrated computational framework for multi-disciplinary design of aero-engine combustors. Prospective candidates should be interested in developing computer programs, and have a strong analytical background in physical science (e.g. aero/mechanical engineering, physics, or applied maths).

A major risk in engine design is that optimisation of one sub-system may have unforeseen impact on the overall engine cost and environmental performance. Furthermore, predictive design tools for performance, cost, and environmental impact are all imprecise, and the resulting uncertainties should be considered when making design choices. The main objective of this project is to develop the engineering ability to quantify uncertainty throughout the design process of aero-engine combustors.
A current limitation in the design process for jet engines is the separation between aerodynamic, mechanical, thermal, and cost analysis. This limitation can result in design features becoming fixed before the full environmental and economic implications can be assessed – leading to engines with are over-engineered and which achieve sub-optimal performance. The design methodology developed in this project permits simultaneous analysis of all aspects of the combustion system, and promises significant impact on the environmental performance of future jet engines. By building upon the multi-disciplinary Prometheus platform – a state of the art computational system for automated design and optimisation developed jointly by Rolls-Royce plc. and the University of Southampton – academic developments in Uncertainty Quantification will directly impact the overall combustor design process.

The project involves working with specialists within Rolls-Royce plc. and its network of University Technology Centres (including the University of Southampton) to evaluate the uncertainty in each aspect of design analysis, and then simulating propagation of uncertainty through the design process.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr Edward Richardson, Aerodynamics and Flight Mechanics research group, Email: e.s.richardson@soton.ac.uk, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 4897.

Start dates: (1 February 2013) and 26 September 2013
Closing date for applications: 19 August 2013

To be eligible students need to have UK status or be a European Union (EU) national who has been 'ordinarily resident' in the UK for three years prior to the commencement of studies.

Limited relaxation of student eligibility requirements:

Outstanding international applicants, currently based in the UK and able to attend an interview at Southampton University, who have the equivalent of a very good first class UK degree (typically with 75% or above overall) may be eligible for an international doctoral scholarship (IDS) on the EngD scheme. If you wish to apply for an IDS, please indicate this on your application form and ensure a personal statement, full degree transcripts and two references are included on applying.

Enquiries: engd@soton.ac.uk


Funding Notes:

This EngD project will be funded through the Industry Doctoral Training Centre (IDTC) http://www.southampton.ac.uk/idtc. The studentship comprises support from both EPRSC http://www.epsrc.ac.uk and an industrial sponsor.



Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 2008 Results


Unit of Assessment: Mechanical, Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering What is the RAE?
FTE Category A Staff Submitted 4* 3* 2* 1* U/C
132.49 15% 45% 35% 5% 0%


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