Engineering Fellowships for Growth: Materials by Design for Impact in Aerospace Engineering

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bath
Department Name: Mechanical Engineering

Abstract

Policy makers and regulatory bodies are demanding the aerospace industry reduces CO2 emission by 50% and NOx emission by 80% by 2020. In order to meet these drastic demands and ensure affordable air travel in the future, it is essential to make lighter aircraft which will use minimum fuel. The aerospace research community recognises the need to make a dramatic performance improvement and is considering several new aircraft concepts that move away from the conventional two-wing-one-fuselage configuration. This brings new challenges to aircraft design. A wing is a highly complex structure to design as it needs to consider the complex interaction between aerodynamics and structural behaviour. The current design practice is therefore very much based on using the previous successful design data. The challenge of departing from the conventional aircraft is that there are limited successful historical design data that is applicable to new concept aircraft. Once we have a wing design, however, there are sophisticated computational methods that analyse how the wing behaves under external flight conditions.

In fact, there has been a significant level of development in computational analysis methods taking advantage of growing computational power. A prime example of this is the recent development in the computational modelling of materials. Using this technology, new advanced materials can be created in half the time that traditional material development takes and the return on investment in computational materials research has been estimated at between 300 - 900%.

This fellowship is at the heart of developing sophisticated computational methods to design aircraft configurations that have not been considered before. The majority of the current methods analyse how a given material or structure responds to the external environment such as in flight at speed Mach 0.8, 38000 ft. What is different about the methods in this research is that they are inverse of the analysis methods: They will determine the best combination of advanced material and structural configuration based on the external environment and hence design the optimum wing for the given flight conditions.

My research approach is to represent the design problem as a set of mathematical functions and develop computational methods to find the optimum solution. The methods will therefore, find the optimum design for both materials and structural configuration at the same time. The outcome of this fellowship will provide engineers with a sophisticated tool to design complex aircraft structures. The tools will be developed and disseminated in a way that they can be used on a range of other complex engineering problems.

The UK has 17% of the global aerospace market share with revenue of £24 billion and is responsible for 3.6% national employment. With the international civil aerospace market forecast to grow to $4 trillion by 2030, the UK market has the opportunity to grow to $352 billion by 2030. It is critical that the UK develops this unique capability to ensure we maintain the market share of these high value products and processes and its economy has the opportunity for growth. Furthermore, the weight savings which will be made from optimum use of materials lead to meeting the emission targets, thus ensuring sustainable environment for the future generations.

Planned Impact

(1) Industry and Economy
This research has a significant societal and economic impact for growth. The material industry in the UK has an annual turnover of around £197 billion and export values at £50 billion. Tailoring advanced materials for specific applications will lead to more high value products and processes which have strong potential to bring sustainable growth and high economic value to the UK. A variety of case studies have shown that the use of computational modelling and optimisation in materials and structural design reduced lead time to product by 50-80%. Taking this a step further to develop computational methods of simultaneously optimising both materials and structures will strengthen the UK as a global leader and enhance the national economy. Material innovation has been identified as particularly critical to the aerospace sector. The aerospace industry employs over 84100 (3.6% of national employment) with the revenue of £24 billion, 17% of the global market share, second only to the USA. The international civil aerospace industry is forecast to grow and to be worth approximately $4 trillion by 2030 and the UK has the opportunity to grow its market to $352 billion by 2030. The aerospace industry in the UK therefore, is said to have a "tremendous opportunities for growth" and is considered to be of strategic importance for the future of the UK economy. The unique capability to design revolutionary aircraft concepts will grow the national economy by creating jobs and ensuring a globally leading market position for the UK. In addition, the use of engineering optimisation to produce the lightest and the most efficient aircraft provides a route to minimise the overall fuel burn and contribute to the sustainable future.

(2) People and Society
Maintaining global leadership in high value products and process through materials and aerospace structures will attract manufacturing industry and increase the global market share, thus growing the UK economyhis will create more jobs and wealth which will ultimately benefit people and the society. In addition, the advanced materials and optimisation methods developed within this research will lead to the lightest aircraft and to low operating and through-life costs. With the increasing risks and uncertainties of fuel prices, this effort is critical in ensuring that future air travel remains affordable. The research also addresses the sustainability of air travel via low emissions through low fuel burn and optimising existing aircraft for re-use. This work will therefore benefit the environment and the future generations.

(3) Investigator and researchers
The potential of high impact scientific research in this fellowship provides an opportunity for myself and my researchers to become world leaders at the interface of materials and structures. This research integrates materials and structures which have traditionally been considered two distinct disciplines. Therefore the integrated expertise of materials and structures from a design perspective is rare and this unique expertise will firmly place me at the forefront of the state of the art and make my researchers distinctive and highly employable. The fellowship will lead to the identification of new research challenges and open up new opportunities to secure future funding from industry and funding bodies. Working closely with industrial partners provides a route for the researchers to make a direct impact in engineering industry and society.

Publications

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Brampton C (2015) New optimization method for steered fiber composites using the level set method in Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization

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Dunning P (2016) Level-set topology optimization with many linear buckling constraints using an efficient and robust eigensolver in International Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering

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Dunning P (2014) Coupled aerostructural topology optimization using a level set method for 3D aircraft wings in Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization

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Dunning P (2014) Aeroelastic tailoring of a plate wing with functionally graded materials in Journal of Fluids and Structures

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Dunning P (2014) Introducing the sequential linear programming level-set method for topology optimization in Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization

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Sivapuram R (2016) Simultaneous material and structural optimization by multiscale topology optimization in Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization

Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
EP/M002322/1 19/06/2014 01/10/2015 £1,236,949
EP/M002322/2 Transfer EP/M002322/1 02/10/2015 01/07/2020 £946,062
 
Description We have created and verified a generalised formulation for multiscale optimisation that simultaneously design a microscopic structure and architected material. It has been discovered that for a simple load carrying functionality, multiscale structures are not beneficial and solid materials are optimum. There are classes of problems that multisale optima are beneficial (e.g. compliant mechanism) and the true multiscale optimum solution can be missed if optimization takes place in two levels (e.g. macroscopic topology optimization then material optimization). Therefore, tight coupling is important to determine the true optimum in multiscale optimization.
Exploitation Route The multiscale design framework can be used to design other types of materials.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Energy,Transport

URL http://m2do.ucsd.edu
 
Description The research is beginning to have impact already in inspiring new research ideas and directions. I have been invited to present the research at the major national laboratories (Sandia and Lawrence Livermore) and I have also been invited to several ICME events aiming to shape and direct future research (e.g. AIAA ICME panelist, new AIAA ICME program committee and NASA 2040 ICME vision and road-mapping). I have been approached by NASA Glenn to initiate a discussion group (international) to collect the experts views from the optimization perspective. I have also started teaching multiscale topology optimization at the University.
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine
 
Description NASA 2040 vision for ICME
Geographic Reach North America 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
 
Description NSF workshop
Geographic Reach North America 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
 
Description EOARD research
Amount $73,500 (USD)
Organisation European Office of Aerospace Research & Development (EOARD) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 08/2015 
End 08/2016
 
Description GW4 accelerator
Amount £68,000 (GBP)
Organisation GW4 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 11/2014 
End 04/2015
 
Description GW4 initiator
Amount £12,000 (GBP)
Organisation GW4 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 06/2014 
End 08/2014
 
Description Seed funding
Amount £52,000 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Department Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Additive Manufacturing
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 08/2014 
End 03/2015
 
Description AIRBUS OPERATIONS LIMITED 
Organisation Airbus Group
Department Airbus Operations (formerly AIrbus UK)
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution development of topology optimisation for aircraft design
Collaborator Contribution expertise in aircraft design and requirements
Impact Industrial CASE award, further research collaborations in composites and optimisation
Start Year 2008
 
Description Cardiff GW4 
Organisation Cardiff University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Discrete optimization extending the concept of topology optimization
Collaborator Contribution Sensor and energy harvesting network design problem
Impact GW4 proposals
Start Year 2015
 
Description Cardiff GW4 
Organisation University of Bristol
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Discrete optimization extending the concept of topology optimization
Collaborator Contribution Sensor and energy harvesting network design problem
Impact GW4 proposals
Start Year 2015
 
Description Cardiff GW4 
Organisation University of Exeter
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Discrete optimization extending the concept of topology optimization
Collaborator Contribution Sensor and energy harvesting network design problem
Impact GW4 proposals
Start Year 2015
 
Description LANL Antenna 
Organisation US National High Magnetic Field Laboratory
Country United States of America 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Developing a topology optimisation methodology to realise the full potential of superluminal, accelerated, polarisation currents in dielectrics antenna
Collaborator Contribution invention of superluminal, accelerated, polarisation currents in dielectrics antenna
Impact Multi-disciplinary: Physics
Start Year 2013
 
Description NASA Composites 
Organisation National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Department NASA Langley Research Centre
Country United States of America 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Level set composite fibre path optimization
Collaborator Contribution tow steered fibre composite manufacturing expertise
Impact fibre path optimization, journal and conference papers, best paper award
Start Year 2014
 
Description NASA aeroelasticity 
Organisation National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Department NASA Langley Research Centre
Country United States of America 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Topology optimisation for aeroelassticity
Collaborator Contribution Expertise in aeroelasticity and the research application, common research model
Impact Further collaboration in advanced fibre composites
Start Year 2012
 
Description Norato 
Organisation University of Connecticut
Department Department of Mechanical Engineering
Country United States of America 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Level set topology optimization
Collaborator Contribution stress sensitivity analysis
Impact Conference paper.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Nottingham 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Department Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Additive Manufacturing
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution topology optimization method
Collaborator Contribution additive manufacturing expertise
Impact topology optimization for additive manufacturing
Start Year 2014
 
Description RAL 
Organisation Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Department Numerical Analysis Group
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Topology optimization for buckling
Collaborator Contribution Eigenvalue analysis solver
Impact Topology optimization for buckling, journal paper
Start Year 2015
 
Description Stanford 
Organisation Stanford University
Country United States of America 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Topology optimization method
Collaborator Contribution Expertise in opensource software
Impact Currently working on developing the code towards open source publication
Start Year 2014
 
Description UCSD 
Organisation University of California, San Diego (UCSD)
Department Department of Structural Engineering
Country United States of America 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Level set topology optimization
Collaborator Contribution meshfree and isogeometric analysis
Impact Working on developing new topology optimization methods
Start Year 2016
 
Description AFRL 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Raising awareness of the latest capabilities, and has led to two collaboration areas with potential funding.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description CIRA Ansys workshop 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The follow-up discussions revealed that the presented material was new to them and I raised awareness of this new area that made them think about the future in a new way.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description ICME panel, Scitech 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact It inspired many interesting questions and discussions for the future research and development directions for ICME
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Plenary MEET paris 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact It raised several questions and discussions about how they might be able to use in their future research and design projects.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Plenary RR ADOS 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact It inspired new future research directions which led to specific discussions for research collaboration and also my presentation was requested by several industrialists for their internal communications. This subsequently led to an ATI proposal.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description SIAM plenary, Salt Lake City 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact It inspired new research interests in the SIAM geometric modeling community. DARPA program manager is formulating a new program inspired by the research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Sandia National Lab visit 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Following the seminar, it was a full day of discussion with several researchers on what would be possible to achieve in their research and how optimization research can influence their research and potential collaborations. It raised awareness of the capabilities that influenced their future research and development policy. This led to plans for collaboration and an invite to a focused roundtable workshop.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Seminars at universities 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Seminars given to raise awareness of the latest state of the art. Some subsequently led to collaborative proposals and research. They are given at the following universities: Hanyang University, Korea; Bringham Young University, USA; University of Colorado, Boulder, USA; Politecnico di Torino, Turin, Italy; University of West England, Bristol, UK.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015