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Structural optimisation of highly flexible wings

School of Engineering

About the Project

The aim of this project is to create an optimisation method that can improve the structural design and performance of aircraft with highly flexible wings.

Aircraft wings are considered highly flexible if large deflections significantly affect flight dynamics and aeroelastic behaviour. This occurs when long slender wings are used for their high aerodynamic efficiency. Examples include gliders and High-Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) aircraft, but may also apply to commercial aircraft in the near future, as manufacturers and airlines push for more fuel efficient aircraft.

However, highly flexible, long slender wings create challenges to the efficient structural design of the wing, especially as large deflections mean that traditional approaches using linear models are not suitable. Thus, there is a need to develop a method that can optimise the structural design of highly flexible wings, accounting for nonlinear effects.

This project will build upon current research at the University of Aberdeen on aeroelastic analysis of highly flexible wings to develop an optimisation approach that can design efficient, lightweight wing structures.

Candidates should have (or expect to achieve) the UK honours degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in Mechanical / Civil / Aerospace engineering or Maths.. It is essential that the applicant has a background in structural mechanics, finite element analysis, computer programming, fluid dynamics.

Experience in aerodynamics, computational fluid dynamics, aeroelasticity, nonlinear mechanics and optimisation methods would be advantageous.


• Apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering
• State name of the lead supervisor as the Name of Proposed Supervisor
• State ‘Self-funded’ as Intended Source of Funding
• State the exact project title on the application form

When applying please ensure all required documents are attached:

• All degree certificates and transcripts (Undergraduate AND Postgraduate MSc-officially translated into English where necessary)
• Detailed CV

Informal inquiries can be made to Dr P Dunning (), with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter. All general enquiries should be directed to the Postgraduate Research School ()

It is possible to undertake this project by distance learning. Interested parties should contact Dr Dunning to discuss this.

Funding Notes

This project is advertised in relation to the research areas of the discipline of Engineering. The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for Tuition fees, living expenses and maintenance. Details of the cost of study can be found by visiting View Website. THERE IS NO FUNDING ATTACHED TO THIS PROJECT

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