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Rapid approaches to assess power-plant loading for novel aircraft concepts under extreme events

School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

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Dr D Nolan , Dr D Quinn Applications accepted all year round Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
Belfast United Kingdom Aerospace Engineering Data Analysis Information Services Materials Science Software Engineering Statistics

About the Project

This project will investigate novel computational methods for modelling and assessing the impact of extreme events on current and future power-plant and aircraft design concepts. The project will be linked with Rolls-Royce Plc and the successful applicant will join an existing research group consisting of PhDs, Postdoctoral Researchers and Academics, tackling a range of future aircraft design challenges.

When designing aerospace systems, a significant amount of effort is expended in assessing designs against extreme events (such as blade loss or edge of envelope scenarios), often resulting in significant changes to concepts or in some cases rendering them unrealisable. These events can be extremely challenging to assess, requiring a large amount of background information and the use of complex analysis techniques which are unsuited to early design timescales. As a result, empirical data or “know-how” is typically relied upon with respect to these events during conceptual design stages.

However, such empirical data and knowledge is greatly lacking for novel aircraft concepts, which often vary significantly from the conventional Tube and Wing configuration, already optimised close to its architectural design limit regarding aerodynamic efficiency. Stringent environmental requirements and sustainability demands, means new aircraft need a step change in performance over their predecessors.

This project looks to firstly develop understanding of the implications of extreme events on conventional configurations, particularly with respect to Power-Plant design. To this end, a thorough literature review along with simulation-based sensitivity studies will be utilised. Once findings are validated, they will be studied and utilised to inform development of novel simulation methods suitable for evaluating the effects of extreme events on novel aircraft configurations at conceptual design stages. Emphasis will be placed on the implications for the Power-Plant and neighbouring structural components. The development of new methods such as these, are essential in achieving demanding performance objectives in required timeframes and budgets.

Aims and Objectives:

The aim is to understand the influence of extreme aircraft events on the design of current and future engine and aircraft design concepts. This will be met through the following objectives:

1. Understand aircraft and power-plant extreme event design requirements, and the methodologies used to meet them.

2. Determine the influence of these events on existing designs.

3. Investigate and develop methods for evaluation of future designs suitable for concept design stages.

4. Use newly developed methods to evaluate performance of leading design options.

Key skills required for the post:

• A minimum degree of 2:1 (or equivalent) in mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering, or another relevant discipline.

Key transferable skills that will be developed during the PhD: Structural Analysis, Computer Aided Engineering, Programming

Lead supervisor: Dr Declan Nolan ()

Other supervisor(s): Dr Damian Quinn ()

Guaranteed stipend:

The studentship covers the full university fees at the home rate and a stipend of £18,500 per annum.


• Be a UK or EU citizen or a non-EU citizen with permanent settled status in the UK AND

• have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the studentship

Stipend and fees are NOT available for international applicants.

Keywords: Aerospace, Aircraft, Powerplant, Engine, Finite Element Analysis, FEA, Structural Analysis, Impact, Engineering Design, Simulation

Funding Notes

The studentship covers the full university fees at the home rate and a stipend of £18,500 per annum.
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