The optimisation of the aerodynamic drag of road vehicles is a very important research area both economically and ecologically. Within the UK, these vehicles continue to be the largest contributor within the transport sector to greenhouse gas emissions, constituting 28% of all emissions in 2018. Despite accounting for only 5% of total vehicle miles, Heavy Goods Vehicles produce a disproportionate 18% of the CO2 emitted.
Many passive drag reduction techniques such as full boat-tails tend to be rarely used in practical applications due their significant impact on payload carrying capacity and limitations with unloading and loading payload. Initial preliminary work has developed a new and novel variation of this traditional boat-tail technology which uses a unique combination of non-linear faceted surfaces to produce significant benefits without the deficiencies. Testing conduced to date on small-scale models have shown an overall drag reduction of up to 10%, which if transferable to full scale vehicles, would represent an approximate 5% fuel consumption saving at highway speeds.
This project will aim to develop the concept further with the aim to produce a full-scale test prototype.
The successful applicant will have a practical background within the field of experimental aerodynamics. Effective communication skills are needed with detailed prior knowledge of experimental flow measurement techniques and wind tunnel testing is essential. Skills in experimental test model design and integration are also particularly desired.
Research activities within the aerospace and aviation engineering degree programmes at Brunel cover a wide ranging and diverse field of topics. Academic staff involved within these programmes investigate fundamental and complex problems relating to aerodynamics and aeroacoustics, flight physics and performance, helicopter rotor dynamics and structural mechanics together with Computational Fluid Dynamics and Finite Elements Analysis code development and application.
Doctoral research programmes (PhDs) take a proud place in the world-class research environment and community at Brunel. PhD students are recognised and valued by their supervisors as an essential part of their departments and a key component of the university's overall strategy to develop and deliver world-class research.
A PhD programme is expected to take 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time, with intakes starting in January, April or October.
The general University entrance requirement for registration for a research degree is normally a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree (1st or 2:1) or an international equivalent. A Masters degree is a welcome, but not required, qualification for entry.
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Excellent research support and training
The Graduate School provides a range of personal, professional and career development opportunities. This includes workshops, online training, coaching and events, to enable you to enhance your professional profile, refine your skills, and plan your next career steps as part of the Researcher Development Programme. The researcher development programme (RDP) offers workshops and seminars in a range of areas including progression, research management, research dissemination, and careers and personal development. You will also be offered a number of online, self-study courses on BBL, including Research Integrity, Research Skills Toolkit, Research Methods in Literature Review and Principles of Research Methods.
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Dedicated research support staff provide guidance and training on open access, research data management, copyright and other research integrity issues.
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You will receive tailored careers support during your PhD and for up to three years after you complete your research at Brunel. We encourage you to actively engage in career planning and managing your personal development right from the start of your research, even (or perhaps especially) if you don't yet have a career path in mind. Our careers provision includes online information and advice, one-to-one consultations and a range of events and workshops. The Professional Development Centre runs a varied programme of careers events throughout the academic year. These include industry insight sessions, recruitment fairs, employer pop-ups and skills workshops.