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Modelling Aircraft Fatigue Load Spectra and the Effect of Novel Aircraft Designs

Project Description

This project is funded through a prestigious EPSRC iCASE award and will be carried out within a large research team (including academics, PhDs and Post-Doctoral researchers) who conduct exciting and innovative research in collaboration with Rolls-Royce.

It will investigate novel computational methods for modelling and assessing the impact of fatigue loading considering nonlinear load cases on critical structures associated with current and future engine and aircraft design concepts.

Fatigue load modelling is a major interest for the aviation industry, as these loads often determine the lifespan of equipment and hence directly influence the life-cycle cost of aviation products. As such, a proper understanding of fatigue loading, and the ability to rapidly model its variation and understand the consequences on the design, could provide extremely beneficial information to the aircraft design process. Fatigue loads are a function of:

Aircraft operation

The flight operation of a vehicle can have a first order effect on the fatigue life usage of key systems, for example short haul aircraft will take-off and land much more frequently than long-haul vehicles. Capabilities will be developed to model different flight profiles and usage models.

Aircraft flight dynamics

The aerodynamic behaviour of the aircraft to transient effects such as gusts results in changes in loading within the aircraft. Standard reduced order modelling approaches can fail to accurately predict the aerodynamic loads both at subsonic and transonic speeds. Tools for accurately modelling and assessing transient effects (i.e. gust loads) on different design philosophies will be investigated.

Aircraft design considerations [such as gust response control systems

Additional systems can be applied to aircraft in order to reduce fatigue loading on aero-structures. New tools will be developed to model such systems.

Aims and Objectives:

This project will investigate the development of appropriate tools for modelling the effect of fatigue loading on an aircraft.

The objectives will be to:
• Perform a review of methodologies for developing fatigue spectra.
• Determine how the spectra are influenced by operations, aircraft flight dynamics and emerging fatigue relieving technologies to understand the driving parameters.
• Create a framework to calculate the impact of these spectra on the power plant assembly to understand the influence on component weight and operating life.
• Study fatigue effects due to operation and flight dynamics (gust) on novel aircraft designs
• Assess the impact of any emerging fatigue relieving technologies.
As part of the project you will engage regularly with other members of the team and have frequent meetings with Rolls-Royce engineers.

Funding Notes

This EPSRC PhD scholarship will cover full tuition fees at the home rate and a stipend (£18,250 for the 2019/20 academic year) for 4 years. Due to funding conditions, only UK nationals, and EU nationals who have lived in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the programme are eligible for this scholarship.

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