Applications are invited for a funded 3.5 year (42 month) PhD scholarship in aircraft electrical power systems. The project is scheduled to start in October 2021. Funding is provided for full tuition fees for home (Scottish) or UK applicants (who meet Research Council (RCUK) eligibility criteria), with a stipend (starts at £15,009/year), and support for travel costs for the duration of the project.
The successful candidate will work as a member of the established aero-electrical research team within the Institute for Energy and Environment, alongside a wider team of specialists in electrical power systems. The research will be in close collaboration with an industrial partner (Rolls-Royce), providing significant insight into the electrification of flight.
Electrification of aircraft is central to ambitious targets for reduction of aircraft fuel burn and associated emissions of greenhouse gasses, and the decarbonisation of air travel. However, the significant upwards step change in the aircraft electrical system power system rating to the multi-megawatt range is a significant challenge, in particular to meet weight and volume performance requirements. Integration of the electrical power system with the composite structure of the aircraft is identified as a pathway to light-weighting of the electrical system, directly supporting the development the electrification, and ultimately decarbonisation, of aircraft.
Power electronic converters (PEC) are a key enabler for these electrical power systems. The weight and efficiency of these devices are critical to the realisation of the further electrification of aircraft. This PhD will seek to address this challenge by developing methods to lightweight and minimise the volume of a PEC in future aircraft by the integrated design of the PEC with CFRP cases, to form an integrated module, taking interdependencies (thermal, electrical grounding, electromagnetic) with the wider on-board electrical power system, and the harsh operating conditions, into account. This harsh operation includes extreme temperatures, low pressure and high humidity, electromagnetic interference and bolted electrical faults.
As part of the project, the successful candidate will also benefit from the training delivered as part of the University of Strathclyde’s Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Professional Development.
To be considered for the project, candidates must:
· Possess an undergraduate MEng or postgraduate MSc degree in Electrical Engineering, Physics or Mathematics. Exceptional candidates with a BSc/BEng qualification (1st or 2:1) may also be considered.
· Have a strong understanding of electrical power systems and power electronics, including an appreciation of thermal management, grounding, electromagnetic shielding and filtering.
· Have good understanding, skills and experience of engineering system modelling and simulation and practical laboratory skills
· Be a Home (Scottish) or rest of UK student and adhere to Research Council (RCUK) eligibility criteria.
Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the project, it is desirable for candidates to:
· Demonstrate academic study and interest in relevant non-electrical engineering topics, such as Materials Science and Mechanical Engineering.
Academic supervision will be led by Dr Catherine Jones, whose research focusses on the integration of electrical power systems with composite materials, and Dr Rafael Peña-Alzola, a power electronics expert. Further support will be provided by the internationally recognised aero-electrical systems research team led by Dr Norman and Professor Burt.
How to apply:
Candidates should email with reference “PhD-CFRP-REA1” in the subject line, attaching a detailed CV with contact information for two academic references, and a covering letter highlighting their suitability for the position, to Dr Catherine Jones ([Email Address Removed]).
The project is scheduled to start in October 2021.
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