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Hierarchical Optimization Approach to Detail Design of an Aircraft Wing

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Tuesday, April 23, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

This project will develop a hierarchical methodology to optimize an aircraft wing design. A unique novelty of the methodology that will be developed is that it will simultaneously optimize the overall wing mass and stiffness distribution as a subsystem and the detailed stiffener and skin components in a coupled way. This integrated approach to the multiscale wing system design will offer an optimum solution which is not attainable when the subsystem and component optimizations are decoupled, e.g. bi-level optimization approach.

The two levels of optimization that will be integrated into the new coupled hierarchical optimization are the wing subsystem and the component design level. The design space will be widened using a modified topology optimization formulation to consider non-traditional configurations. They will promote coupled aeroelastic behaviour, e.g. bend-twisting coupling and offer effective load alleviation and aileron effectiveness.

A variety of performance functions will be investigated for the hierarchical optimization including strain energy, weight, fuel burn, displacement, stress, buckling and the trim condition. The study will initially be assuming isotropic material and if time allows, the project will extend this to orthotropic material to examine the effects of using fibre composite.

Candidates should hold or expect to gain a first class degree or a good 2.1 and/or an appropriate Master’s level qualification (or their equivalent).

Applicants should have a good level of proficiency in computer programming as the project will be entirely in C++. They are expected to be familiar with the basics of structural mechanics and aeroelasticity.

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to demonstrate proficiency in the English language (IELTS 6.5 or equivalent)

Contact for further information: Prof H Alicia Kim,

Funding Notes

The full four year award will cover fees at the Home/EU rate and will provide an annual stipend (£14,553, in 2017/18),plus annual enhancement of at least £2400.

The studentship is open to: UK students; EU students who have been resident in the UK for three years at the course start date; other candidates who can demonstrate a connection to the UK, usually through residency. Other EU applications may be eligible for a fees-only award.


In the first instance interested applicants are invited to send a CV and covering email/letter to [email protected]


Shortlisted candidates will be invited to submit an online application form.

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