EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Future Propulsion and Power

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Engineering

Abstract

The UK has an international reputation for excellence in the aero-propulsion and power generation industry and is at the forefront of research into the underpinning aero-thermal science and technology. Through the current CDT in Gas Turbine Aerodynamics, the UK has also established itself as the global leader in graduate training in the field. But this sector is entering a period of accelerated change and market disruption. In aerospace, the continuing drive to reduce emissions is necessitating major architecture changes in jet engines as well as entirely new electrified concepts with integrated engine-airframe designs. In power generation, fast response and flexible operation gas turbines are required to support the increasing capacity of renewables. In addition, the traditional physical (experimental tests) and digital (computational simulation) worlds are merging with the advent of rapid multi-disciplinary design tools and additive manufacturing. The common thread in these challenges is the rapid increase in the rate of generation of data and the requirement for engineers to convert this information into innovative design changes. To maintain its leadership position, the UK must train a new generation of engineers with the skills needed to innovate in this data-rich environment.

The new CDT in Future Propulsion and Power will train engineers with the Data, Learning and Design, and Systems Integration skills required by aero-thermal engineers of the future. Engineers will need to handle an unprecedented volume of Data from the latest multi-disciplinary simulations, experimental tests, or from real engines in the field. From this, engineers will need to distil Learning by a critical evaluation of the data, using AI and data science as appropriate, against hypotheses developed with reference to the underpinning aero-thermal science. The critical output from this Learning is improved Design, be that of a an individual component or process, or an Integrated System (e.g. electrically driven propulsor, urban air taxi, fast-response power generation). This set of coupled, aero-thermal focussed skills will be provided by the new CDT in Future Propulsion and Power.

The Centre is a collaboration between three universities and four industry partners, each with complimentary expertise and skills, but with a shared vision to deliver a training experience that sets the global benchmark for Propulsion and Power education. The laboratories of the partner institutions have a track record of research leadership in turbomachinery aerodynamics (Cambridge), heat transfer (Oxford) and combustor aerodynamics (Loughborough). The new Master's course will use expertise from the three universities to train students in the underpinning aero-thermal science, in the experimental and computational data generation and critical evaluation, and in the process of aerodynamic design. Data Science training will be provided by Workshops delivered by the Alan Turing Institute and by researchers using advanced data analytics in the Centre's universities.

The Industry Partners (Rolls-Royce, Siemens, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Dyson) are committed to defining, delivering and supporting the Centre (they will fund a minimum of 35 studentships). As well as providing a pathway for research projects to contribute to real products, the sponsoring companies also deliver bespoke industry courses to the students of the CDT; they provide a manufacturing, operation and Systems Integration context that only industry can offer. The Industry Partners will include data analytics (from R2 Data Labs - Rolls-Royce, and MindSphere/IoT - Siemens) in their industry courses. These companies, and others in related sectors in the UK, ensure a demand for the graduates of the new CDT with their unique, aerodynamics-focussed, Data, Learning and Design skill set.

Planned Impact

1. Impact on the UK Aero-Propulsion and Power Generation Industry
The UK Propulsion and Power sector is undergoing disruptive change. Electrification is allowing a new generation of Urban Air Vehicles to be developed, with over 70 active programmes planning a first flight by 2024. In the middle of the aircraft market, companies like Airbus and Rolls-Royce, are developing boundary layer ingestion propulsion systems. At high speed, Reaction Engines Ltd are developing complex new air breathing engines. In the aero gas turbine sector Rolls-Royce is developing UltraFan, its first new architecture since the 1970s. In the turbocharger markets UK companies such as Cummins and Napier are developing advanced turbochargers for use in compounded engines with electrical drive trains. In the power generation sector, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Siemens are developing new gas turbines which have the capability for rapid start up to enable increased supply from renewables. In the domestic turbomachinery market, Dyson are developing a whole new range of miniature high speed compressors. All of these challenges require a new generation of engineers to be trained. These engineers will need a combination of the traditional Aero-thermal skills, and new Data Science and Systems Integration skills. The Centre has been specifically designed to meet this challenge.

Over the next 20 years, Rolls-Royce estimates that the global market opportunities in the gas turbine-related aftercare services will be worth over US$700 billion. Gas turbines will have 'Digital Twins' which are continually updated using engine health data. To ensure that the UK leads this field it is important that a new generation of engineer is trained in both the underpinning Aero-thermal knowledge and in new Data Science techniques. The Centre will provide this training by linking the University and Industry Partners with the Alan Turing Institute, and with industrial data labs such as R2 Data Labs at Rolls-Royce and the 'MindSphere' centres at Siemens.

2. Impact on UK Propulsion and Power Research Landscape
The three partner institutions (Cambridge, Oxford and Loughborough) are closely linked to the broader UK Propulsion and Power community. This is through collaborations with universities such as Imperial, Cranfield, Southampton, Bath, Surrey and Sussex. This will allow the research knowledge developed in the Centre to benefit the whole of the UK Propulsion and Power research community.

The Centre will also have impact on the Data Science research community through links with the CDT in Data Centric Engineering (DCE) at Imperial College and with the Alan Turning Institute. This will allow cross-fertilization of ideas related to data science and the use of advanced data analytics in the Propulsion and Power sectors.

3. Impact of training a new generation of engineering students
The cohort-based training programme of the current CDT in Gas Turbine Aerodynamics has proved highly successful. The Centre's independent Advisory Group has noted that the multi-institution, multi-disciplinary nature of the Centre is unique within the global gas turbine training community, and the feedback from cohorts of current students has been extremely positive (92% satisfaction rating in the 2015 PRES survey). The new CDT in Future Propulsion and Power will combine the core underlying Aero-thermal knowledge of the previous CDT with the Data Science and Systems Integration skills required to meet the challenges of the next generation. This will provide the UK with a unique cohort of at least 90 students trained both to understand the real aero-thermal problems and to have the Data Science and Systems Integration skills necessary to solve the challenges of the future.

Publications

10 25 50

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/S023003/1 01/10/2019 31/03/2028
2299846 Studentship EP/S023003/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2023 Sofia Medina Cassillas
2299851 Studentship EP/S023003/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2023 Luke Dickinson
2299844 Studentship EP/S023003/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2023 Abigail Berhane
2299852 Studentship EP/S023003/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2023 Nathan Clark
2293596 Studentship EP/S023003/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2023 William Beckwith
2299853 Studentship EP/S023003/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2023 Zelimhan Akhmiev
2299849 Studentship EP/S023003/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2023 Robert Peacock
2293554 Studentship EP/S023003/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2023 Provence Barnouin
2293868 Studentship EP/S023003/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2023 Tseno Tsenov
2306417 Studentship EP/S023003/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2023 Gregor Herkewitz
2446939 Studentship EP/S023003/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2024 Laura-Cristina Ciuches
2447955 Studentship EP/S023003/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2024 Thomas Coxon
2447952 Studentship EP/S023003/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2024 Oliver Jagger
2447148 Studentship EP/S023003/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2024 Matthew Stokes
2446915 Studentship EP/S023003/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2024 Giulio Peroni
2446349 Studentship EP/S023003/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2024 Florian Villain
2447155 Studentship EP/S023003/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2024 William Lloyd Purser
2447999 Studentship EP/S023003/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2024 William Davis
2446269 Studentship EP/S023003/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2024 Cole Replogle
2447162 Studentship EP/S023003/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2024 Tianhou Wang
2447043 Studentship EP/S023003/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2024 Mark Pellowe
2446219 Studentship EP/S023003/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2024 Ashley Van Bruygom
2447032 Studentship EP/S023003/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2024 Lucas Rey
2448002 Studentship EP/S023003/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2024 Yann Dreze
2447015 Studentship EP/S023003/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2024 Leon Vaughan
2445939 Studentship EP/S023003/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2024 Alicia Torres Gomez