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Stiffness and geometry tailoring for improved aeroelastic wing performance.

Department of Mechanical Engineering

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Dr A Rhead , Dr David Cleaver , Prof Richard Butler No more applications being accepted Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

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

Project enquiries: Dr Andrew Rhead [Email Address Removed]

In this fully funded project, which is sponsored by GKN, you will seek to define new stiffening concepts for aircraft wings that reduce peak stresses in key locations in order to reduce wing weight leading to reduced fuel burn. It is anticipated that the aeroelastic performance of a wing will be improved by optimising structural geometry (e.g. alignment and position of airframe ribs and curving of stiffeners) and stiffness tailoring of composite materials across the span of the wing (e.g. via curving of fibres). The project will need to consider closely the manufacturing constraints on such optimisation and the trade-off between local and wing level stiffness requirements. It is envisaged that the project will offer opportunity for both numerical and experimental work e.g. wind tunnel testing but this can be tailored to the student’s interests/skills. This project also offers the unique opportunity of working closely with and being supported by GKN manufacturing and engineering staff including visits to GKN facilities. The project will be suited to any one with interests in one or more of
the following: aerospace engineering, finite element simulation, computational fluid dynamics, Multiphysics modelling, aircraft dynamics and/or optimisation

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: 18 January 2021

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 £15,285 per annum (2020/1 rate). EU students are eligible to apply if they have been resident in the UK for 3 years prior to the funding commencing.
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