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Optimisation trade-off between wing scale stiffness tailoring for improved aeroelastic load reduction and panel scale fibre steering for buckling

Project Description

Supervisory team: Dr Andrew Rhead, Dr David Cleaver, Prof Richard Butler

Project enquiries: Dr Andrew Rhead

A recent EPSRC seed funded collaboration between the universities of Bath and Bristol saw numerical and experimental validation of the improvements (~20%) offered by wing scale steering of carbon fibres to reduce root strain in wind tunnel scale models. GKN currently support the ADAPT fibre steering project which includes work packages on reducing structural mass through improved buckling performance. In this project, which is jointly funded by GKN, optimisation tools would be created that exploit stiffness tailoring to achieve minimum mass wing design subject to aeroelastic, buckling, and manufacturing constraints. Approximate structural models will be used in the development of optimisation techniques that trade off conflicting requirements of wing level steering for improved aeroelastic load reduction against the requirements for improved buckling performance at a stiffened panel level subject to manufacturing constraints related to the discrete stiffness tailoring approached derived in the EPSRC ADAPT project. This would extend to considering the effects of stiffness tailoring of materials in the presence of novel internal wing structure geometries e.g. curvilinear stiffeners and/or the effect of loading/material/manufacturing uncertainties.

GKN Aerospace are sponsoring this studentship. Interaction with industry, presentation of results at international conferences and high-quality journal publications are expected. Follow on research will also be a priority, depending on the project outcomes.

Applicants should hold, or expect to receive, a first class Engineering undergraduate Masters degree or MSc distinction (or non-UK equivalent) in Aerospace or Mechanical Engineering. English language entry requirements must be met at the time of application to be considered for funding, see

Formal applications should be made via the University of Bath’s online application form for a PhD in Mechanical Engineering. Please ensure that you state the full project title and lead supervisor name on the application form.

More information about applying for a PhD at Bath may be found here:

Anticipated start date: 28 September 2020

Funding Notes

Funding is for up to three and a half years. It includes UK/EU tuition fees, training support fee of £1,000 per annum and a Maintenance stipend of £15,009 per annum (2019/0 rate). EU students are eligible to apply if they have been resident in the UK for 3 years prior to the funding commencing.

How good is research at University of Bath in Aeronautical, Mechanical, Chemical and Manufacturing Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 61.00

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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